Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hope of Things to Come

When I was younger, I would spend time every New Year's Eve, reflecting and writing about the year that was ending and my hopes for the year ahead. This tells you two very important things about me: #1 I didn't have many New Year's Eve dates and #2 I have periods of time where I am very hopeful.

Now that I am 46 (and a half), married (so I have a permanent New Year's Eve date) and have two young kids, I don't have much time to reflect on much of anything. I also have lost much of my short term memory, so I can't remember what I had for lunch let alone what I did in January or the rest of the year. But tonight my most wonderful husband, took the kids out for some family fun and (after some whining and complaining on my part) didn't "make me" go with them. So for one glorious and peaceful hour, I wrote down some of my hopes and goals for 2010. I would like to share some of them with you:

  • Introduce some new products to my Etsy shop. I've been wanting to add some different things for a long time (bookmarks, handmade journals, more tags, calendars, etc) but haven't taken the time to do it. I want to work on it this year.
  • Open another online shop. I have an Artfire account that I haven't put anything in for about a year. Maybe I should give that a try.
  • Make my blog more interesting and look more the way I want it to look.
  • Average 3 blog posts a week. Maybe add some demonstrations or tutorials.
  • Set some sales goals for my Etsy shop and work my hiney off to reach them.
  • Make more money than I spend (or at least break even).
  • Be bold in my belief in God and pursue my relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Quit procrastinating
  • Love myself more in action and thought (stop telling myself that I'm destined to fail)
  • Be healthy (quit eating so much sugar and start exercising)
  • Clean house regularly
  • Love my family
I know this is a big and challenging list, but these are my hopes. It would be great to be here next New Year's Eve reporting that I made even a little progress in most areas.

Thanks for following my blog and for your encouragement. It has meant so much to me to have people cheer me on as I pursue one of the things I love most.

Have a safe and wonderful New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas. My family and I did. We have been spending the past couple of days being "snowed in". In central Missouri, that usually means only about 4-6 inches. I know compared to some of the northern states, that is wimpy snow, but it is snow. It has been fairly relaxed and quiet - as quiet as it can be with kids around. I'm thankful for this time. It seems the past few weeks have been non-stop activity, so I'm ready to be doing nothing.

I'm working on coming up with a list of goals I want to work on for the new year. My goals are always a little too lofty in the beginning, so I need to tweek them a bit. I do know that one goal will be to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. That will mean going to be earlier than my normal routine of 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning. I love the quiet this time of night, but the lack of sleep is definitely taking it's toll on my mind and body and it's reflected in my mood (which tends to go up and down like a wild roller coaster).

I'd also like to write more regularly in my blog and get more things listed in my Etsy shop. I think I set the goals last year but was only minimally successful. That's one thing about a new year, you get to start all over again. You have hope that you can actually reach the goals that are set. I've got my fingers (and toes) crossed! I'll be back soon with my goals list, so you can see what the plan is. Right now, I need to go to bed since it is past 2:00 a.m. I'm tired and need to get some rest so I can concentrate in church tomorrow!

Good night. Thanks for following my blog!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Where to Go From Here

Tonight I find myself a little confused about what to do with myself, my art projects, my shop, my blog...Hey wait a minute! Haven't I written about this before?! I believe I have. Hopefully, you won't mind going down this road with me again.

I think the challenge for me in this stage of life, (besides trying to do anything that does not involve my children) is getting from where I am to where I want to be, without taking the long and winding road. Sometimes the long road is good, you learn things, you see things you may not have seen if you'd gone the fast track and you get the opportunity to develop patience. But sometimes, the long and winding road is just full of foolish mistakes and wasted time. I realize that all lessons ultimately are good lessons and shape who we are, I just feel like I've spent too much time on the long and winding road and would like to be more focused on the destination.

I'm trying to figure out ways to be more productive in 2010. I need to ask questions about what goals I want to set, are they realistic, how will I get there and am I doing things that will keep me from where I want to be? Am I allowing too many ideas to overwhelm me and to scare me into not doing anything? It's probably good to just take tiny baby steps rather than standing in one place. Eventually tiny baby steps lead somewhere.

I'll think about this some more and get back to you with some goals. Until then, I think I'll go finish making some Christmas presents!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Beaux Arts Bizarre 2009


Last week I participated in the Beaux Arts Bizarre held at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia, Missouri. This is the second year that I've had a booth with my friends Jolene and Beth. The Missouri Theatre is a beautiful old building that was recently renovated. Just seeing all the work that has been done to restore it is awesome and to have a booth on the stage for 3 days is pretty amazing.

I enjoy sharing a booth with Beth and Jolene. It's one of the few times the three of us get to spend time together without children dominating our activities and conversation. Between the three of us we have 7 kids, all under the age of 10 and most under the age of 8. Whenever we do a booth together, we call ourselves "3 Moms Creative Outlet" but individually, we each have our own Etsy shops. Our creations are different, but similar enough to blend and display nicely together. Here are some pics of our booth:









I like doing fairs because it's nice to get feedback about what kinds of things I've been working on. I also enjoy meeting people and talking with them. It's really fun getting to know some of the other artists. But doing art fairs as a way to make money has not been very successful for me. Getting product ready and setting up, taking down, etc. is a lot of hard work. So far, I've done better at a gallery showing and selling consignment at Artlandish Gallery downtown. I don't want to give up on art fairs, but I hope to start figuring out how to make more money than I spend. Maybe in the spring I'll have better opportunities to sell art. We'll see.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Printer Update and Wood Things

I know you've been on the edge of your seats wondering how the printer saga will end. I'm happy to say that I purchased a brand spankin' new printer from Office Depot today. It's a Brother MFC-290C and I believe we are going to be very happy together!

I just wanted to post a few photos of some wooden things I've been painting. I especially love the mirror and candle stick holders with matching napkin rings. Would love to do more of these in the future. These photos were taken at the Beaux Arts Bizarre last weekend. Our booth was on the stage, so we had some "dramatic" lighting. I plan on writing more about the art fair, but for now I would just like to show you some pictures.



These are now for sale at Artlandish Gallery on Walnut Street in Columbia, Missouri. They would make great Christmas/holiday gifts, don't you think?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Printer Dilemma

In October 2008, I decided I needed a new printer. I wanted one that would copy, print and scan. I looked online, researched and found one that was compatible with my budget. I bought it, brought it home, set it up and loved it. The printing was great, the scanning was awesome and I was a happy woman.

Approximately one week after the warranty on my printer expired, so did the printer. It would no longer pull paper through properly and I had no idea how to fix it. I've asked a couple of people if they knew how to fix printers, but it seems to be that it is more economical to throw printers out than to have them fixed. That seems to be the ongoing theme of our disposable culture. I even took the printer apart to see if by some miracle, I could fix it myself. Once I got it all put back together, I tried to run it, but it's out of ink and I don't think I'm going to run out and buy $50 in ink just to find out if all my poking around fixed the problem. I could buy a new printer with 50 bucks!

I've been without a printer for weeks now and I'm ready to have my printing freedoms restored. However, I have a very limited budget and I don't want to buy another garbage printer. What to do, what to do.....

If you have any good recommendations for printers under $100, feel free to share. I know $100 isn't much, but I think I should be able to get something halfway decent for that amount of money. It doesn't have to last until I retire, but it does have to last beyond it's warranty.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some Are Born With It, Some Are Not...

Everyone is born with gifts and talents. Thankfully, everyone has something different they are good at. Think how boring it would be if we were all the same and if we all had the same gifts. It might also be kind of dangerous. If all people were like me, who would run the Emergency Rooms, the Stock Market and other intense things that involve high drama, quick thinking, and blood? I'm glad God made people who want to (and are good at) work in hospitals, be leaders, teach gradeschoolers (junior high schoolers and high schoolers), run the country, preach, design faster computers, develop better sewer systems, etc. I certainly have benefited from all of these things.

There are other "callings" that I wish I were better suited for like being a singer/songwriter, ballet dancer, farmer, Martha Stewart (or anyone else who is incredibly talented with all things domestic and has made big bucks showing others how to be).

Alas, I am not those things. I am also not a business minded or money saavy individual. This poses a bit of a problem since I think I want to run a little business with my art work. I can accept that I'm not a ballet dancer, nor will I ever be one, but I really want to succeed at business. So I keep making silly mistakes that someone with a business mind would never make. For instance, not charging enough shipping for something I'm selling on Ebay. Or not knowing how to get a fair price for an item I'm selling (not just on Ebay). I'm trying to learn from my mistakes and trying to take advantage of resources that will make me smarter. Until then, I guess I'm going to be giving Ebay buyers some pretty darn good steals...uh, I mean "deals".

Monday, November 16, 2009

Conquering Fear - On a Small Scale

Do you have those things in your life that you really want to try but are letting fear or worry hold you back? I have lots of those things. Most of them are quite silly, but I let the fear or worry keep me from doing them anyway.

For years I have wanted to make my own books. Small books, big books, beautiful, wonderful and creative books. I bought several books about making books. I've checked out books on book making from the library. I've seen wonderful hand made books on Etsy and at art shows. But I was always too afraid to try making one myself. I thought they would be too difficult to make and take too much time. A few weeks ago, I made a few small books that I put together and hand stiched to include in block printing kits I put together. They turned out kind of cute, they were fairly easy and I was happy with the result.

Last week, Artlandish Gallery offered a workshop in traditional Japanese bookbinding and I was privileged to attend. The workshop was taught by artist Sonya Nicholson who did a great job of breaking down the steps to building a book. (Check out some examples of Sonya's work here).

I really love the way my book turned out and it was not as difficult as I had always imagined it would be. Isn't that the way with things we fear? Mostly, they are never quite as bad as we build them up to be? The other thing is, that since I was able to finally make something I had always wanted to make and I liked the result, I felt very happy. I still love looking at my beautiful book and dreaming of a whole new avenue to release some creative energy. As if I really needed another thing to add to my list of things I love to make! Oh well! :)

Here are some photos of my first book made with Japanese bookbinding:
 



Saturday, October 31, 2009

Adding to My Etsy Shop

One of my weaknesses is that I allow myself to be overwhelmed by tasks that I haven't even attempted yet. I think of something I want to do and instead of believing I can do it and use my energy to get the job done, I waste time telling myself the many reasons why I can't do it. Almost always, I end up either not doing anything at all or procrastinating until it's too late to do anything.

My business suffers because of my procrastination. I pretty much ignored the fact that I have an Etsy shop for most of the Spring and Summer. I would log in, look at my stuff, roll my eyes, then log out. All the while telling myself how I really needed to get in there and dust the cobwebs off so I could add a few things and make my shop presentable. I really want to have a cool shop. One that is successful. Really, I do. But I get caught up in believing it's an impossible task and I just end up feeling bad.

A couple of weeks ago, I changed my avatar, my banner and worked on some of my photos. I changed my banner for this blog too (which still needs work) and today I actually added 7 new items. That's SEVEN! Not only did I add that many new items, I now have 25 items total which added a second page to my shop! It may not seem like much, but to me, it's huge. The other part is that the 7 (yes, that's SEVEN) things I added are not paper crafts. They are totally different than anything I've ever listed before. These are my babysteps.

I think it helps to look to others when I am feeling defeated or overwhelmed and I don't know what to do. One person (a fellow Etsian) who is an inspiration to me is Jessica Doyle. She is a wonderful artist who works her butt off and is very successful. I follow her blog and follow her on Facebook. I like reading her daily entries because she seems very organized and she's really good about sharing information. When I see her successes as a result of her determination and hard work, it makes me want to get my own rear in gear. I'm thankful for Jessica and people like her, who share their struggles, insight and processes. It helps me learn how to be more focused and more hopeful about seeing my dreams come true.

Do you have a blog you like to turn to for inspiration?

I Did This Instead of Sleeping...


Everyone in my family has had some sort of ailment in the past week. I'm just getting over mine, so I should really be sleeping. You know, getting rest so I can get healthy, letting my body rejuvenate so I don't have a relapse. Instead, I spent time carving eraser stamps! I've found that this is what really relaxes me lately, especially if I like the way the designs turned out.

I've been working on getting some things ready for an art fest I'm doing with my friends on Thanksgiving weekend. It's kind of an overwhelming task because there seems to be so much to be done and not really enough time to do it. Carving stamps helps me be creative, without having to commit too much time. Besides, I'll be able to make tags out of some of these and sell them at the art fest!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Working to Make it Better

I've been telling myself for quite some time now, that I'm going to work on my Etsy shop and other aspects of my tiny little business. I've been avoiding my Etsy shop like the plague because it seems so overwhelming, the number of things I want to do. But I'm just trying to focus on taking baby steps.

I changed my avatar and banner and added one new item. I will probably have a few more things to add, but need to take some photos first. I've been spending some time in the forum, reading blogs of sellers I admire, participated in Tim Adam's Webinar and have refused to give up after not doing so well in a couple of art/craft fairs.

Two really nice things that have happened lately: someone is in the process of buying one of my mixed media collage pieces and I sold 24 cards to the Unity Center so they could sell them in their bookstore. It's always nice to make a couple of sales.


The piece below is the one that is being purchased. It's called "You Are The Only One". It's one of my favorites, but I'm glad that it will have a new home.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Block Party

Yesterday I facilitated a group of 8 women in a linoleum block printing workshop. It was held at Artlandish Gallery in Columbia, Missouri and it was really fun! I met some nice people, had a few laughs, saw some great designs. But the most fun part was watching as each person saw the first print of their carving on paper. It was truly amazing. Lots of "ooos and ahhhs" going on in that room.

We also carved some plastic erasers for some really cute hand made stamps. I was inspired to carve out a small lino block last night before I went to bed. Here's how it turned out:


I'm happy with the way it turned out and can hardly wait to print some different colors on cards and make some prints for framing.

I've been working on carving a few stamps and rubber pieces. It's very satisfying and there is the element of immediate gratification. I can carve a quick stamp in a few minutes, make a quick print then go cook dinner (or whatever thing I need to do). I can squeeze making hand made stamps in any part of my day! I'm soooo addicted. Here are some of the stamps I've made:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation


We spent a week in Wisconsin in August and this is one of the things I did while I was there. I'm just now getting around to posting it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Don't Think He Believes Me

I'm not depressed or anything, but tonight as I was sitting in my craft space, I felt that feeling "I have no other ideas left. The idea pool is all dried up and I don't have the energy to do anything about it".

My husband was in working on the computer when I announced: "Well honey, I'm out of ideas. I'm just going to sell all my craft stuff now. Just combine it all and sell it in one big lot on ebay." His response? "Mmmm hmmm".

"We can now use the extra space in the craft room as storage, won't have to worry about needing room for my art supplies"

"Mmmm hmmm"

"You know, this will really free up some time for me. I won't be spending all these late nights doing art. I can go to bed at 10:00 now."

"Mmmm hmmm"

"The kids will ask me if I have tape, glue, scissors and I'll just tell them 'the only thing we have like that is in your craft closet'"

"Mmmm hmmm"

"I'll really be saving money since I won't have to buy any craft supplies. I won't feel obligated to go to Michael's to spend money when they have their 50% off coupon".

"Mmmm hmmm"

It's a good thing I'm a procrastinator. If I weren't, I'd be packing it all up right now and listing it on ebay (I've got lots of great supplies). I guess I'll just have to sleep on it. Maybe tomorrow I'll get some genius idea that I'll need my paints and brushes for. I sure hope so!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More Block Prints




I've been working on some more block prints. I will be facilitating two workshops at Artlandish Gallery in the next few weeks and even though I'm a little nervous, I'm really looking forward to it. Above are some images I scanned to show the progression of this particular print.

The first picture shows the candle after I did one etching into the linoleum. I think doing some preliminary prints can be very helpful in showing you what other details will make the carving look more interesting. Even though I like the original sketch of the candle, I'm not completely happy with the final print. I think it would have been better to have something in between the second and the last image (but number 3 above is not what I had in mind). I think I should have left more background around the candle like in image two. I may try to do this drawing again, or I may try one of the other sketches I have hiding in my sketchbook.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

You Can't Always Get What You Want/The Honeymoon Is Over

After my last post where I sang praises to the addiction that is Ebay, I have come to know the darker side of cyber bidding:

I HAVE BEEN OUT BID!

It's cruel to win your first bid, giving you false hope and overconfidence. Only to have some "slick willy" jump in during the last few minutes of bidding on your next item and take away the object of your desires! I was so sure I was going to get that speedball lino cutter handle with 5 blades and ink. SO SURE. I was the only one who bid on it. I was so excited thinking about it showing up in my mailbox wrapped in a little package, with my name on it.

Darn you a***m for your bidding savvy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Oh, Ebay! Where Have You Been All My Life?!

Ok, so I've known about Ebay for a very long time. I even have been signed up with them for probably over a year. But I never have done anything on Ebay other than look around a little. That is....until this week.

Because of Ebay, I am now the proud owner of a box of 36 Prismacolor Water Color Pencils and a Speedball lino cutter with blades at a fraction of what I would've paid in the real world! Oh man! Now I know why people get so hooked on online bidding. (I am currently waiting to see if I've won bids on two more items).

So, as I sit here typing this, (hurrying to finish this entry so I can visit ebay for a little while before I go to bed), I know that ebay can also be a dangerous place for a woman like me. One who has impulse control "issues", not a lot of disposable income, not a lot of storage space and gets a major rush from finding a good deal! Let's pray that I won't eventually have to mortgage the house to support my habit! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Obsession

Ok, I know I'm no different than any other creative type. I love making things. I find out about some new technique or art form I want to try, become obsessed, buy supplies, check out books from the library, and make big plans to become a full time artist doing this new thing. Then along comes something else that catches my eye and I'm on to something even newer.

My latest "newest thing" is block printing. Although it's really an ancient art form, it's kind of new to me. I have loved rubber stamping for a long time and I've dabbled in carving my own stamps from erasers. But I think I may become addicted to lino block printing. I have a feeling it will be one of the art forms that stays with me for a long time. It's very satisfying to carve out an original design on a linoleum block, ink it up and press it on paper.

This is one I did this past week:

The tree on the right is fully inked from the first pressing. The one on the left is from a second pressing without adding any new ink. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I think eventually, I'm going to post a tutorial on how to carve your own lino block.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

5 States, 7 Days and Home Again

My family and I took a lovely vacation to Grantsburg, Wisconsin last week and returned yesterday afternoon. We drove from Columbia, Missouri, to Prairie Village, Kansas to drop off our sick car so my awesome mechanic brother could work on it. Then the four of us hopped in the mini van and headed North.

The first night we stayed in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The next morning we explored the Mall of America for a couple of hours (man! that place is huge!) then headed to Grantsburg, Wisconsin. There we spent 5 nights and 5 days at the Luther Point Bible Camp for family week. It was a lot of fun and we met many, many wonderful people. Minnesota and Wisconsin are such beautiful states in the summer (not sure I could handle the winters there). I loved the landscape of trees, hills, beautiful big barns and acre upon acre of corn and soybeans.

On Friday, we said goodbye to our camp friends and drove the mini van to Des Moines, Iowa. I love Iowa too. On this trip we saw a couple of wind farms, which I had never experienced before. Those "windmills" are awesome and HUGE. We had to stop for a minute to take photos of them. I know that probably sounds silly to some of you, but I'd never seen them up close and personal before. I thought they were amazing.

6-ish hours later, we walked through the doorway of our home sweet home and to our wonderful, fuzzy black cat, Davis. It really was a good trip.

Now, I'm trying to get my mind organized so that I can start some projects that will (hopefully) eventually make me some money. Our budget requires that I leave my "life of luxury" and get a part time job. I'm still hoping to find something a little unconventional and creative that I can do from home. A girl has got to have dreams...

One thing I'm looking into is leading a couple of workshops at a cool new store that opened up in town (have I mentioned Artlandish Gallery before)? I'm doing internet research on where to find the best prices for art supplies. If you have any suggestions for me, please feel free to leave me a comment.

I just wanted to check in. I'm working on a linoleum block print and I'm almost finished. I'll be sure to post a photo of the finished product!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Going to the Birds

I sold one of the suns from my last post (the painting with the four blocks and the sun in the middle). After the sale, I immediately went to the ARTlandish Gallery and put the other two up for sale. My hope is that someone will fall in love with them and want to take them home :) !

I continue to purchase wooden objects to paint. I think I'm obsessed! I have two boxes full of things I want to paint with funky designs and bright colors. I keep thinking if I do that, surely someone will want to buy them. I hope so anyway. I don't have enough room in my own house to "show case" all the things I plan on painting.

One of the things I've been really having fun with is painting bird houses. I can't explain it, I just love doing it. Here are some photos of a few of the things I've been working on. Some are complete, others need more work:






These were really fun to do and I'm currently working on another. I will post it when I'm done. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Something New: My Three Suns

Hi. I have wanted to write for so long...well, I guess that is not entirely true. I have been thinking that I should write for so long, but haven't been motivated to do so. Many of things have been happening, which has required a lot of work on my part (and may be why I'm lacking in motivation-I don't have the energy to do all the things I need/want to do).

Last month, I was blessed enough to have several pieces of art hanging in the Solar Gallery of the Unity Center in Columbia, Missouri. There was an artist's reception at the beginning of the month and I was able to meet a lot of people there. It was so much fun. In many ways, I have lost the art of conversation, especially when I meet people for the first time. However, where art is concerned, I always have more than enough to say and I don't seem to feel shy about saying it.

One of the women I met at the gallery showing, had asked me to make a custom sun picture for her. I painted 3 pictures for her to choose from. Here they are:



It will be interesting to see which one she picks. I hope she will feel like she has a good selection to choose from.

I'm working on my shop, art and business again. Honestly though, I'm not all that organized with this stuff and I have a hard time focusing on the business aspects of it. Also, I'm not really business minded (which I'm sure I've mentioned before), so I have to look around for a lot of information. I want to be dedicated to this and to make a business of it. Wouldn't it be great to be a full time artist? Can only imagine how that would feel! :)

Gotta get myself to bed. Don't want to be too grouchy tomorrow!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Token Post

It has been so long since I've written, that I thought I'd better check in so no one thinks I dropped off the face of the Earth! I am still here, just feeling overwhelmed, undisciplined, unmotivated to write.

I've had several things going on (or so it seems). Currently, I have some pieces hanging in a gallery at the Unity Center in Columbia, Missouri. It is so exciting to walk through that gallery and see half of it filled with my art.

The other half of the gallery is filled with fiber art by a woman named Janet Ghio. Her pieces are beautiful and amazing. You can visit her website at: http://www.janetghio.com.

So, I just wanted to stop by. Eventually I will have some photos to put up. Thanks for not giving up on me!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another Two Weeks Gone By...

Well, I guess I'm on the two week schedule for writing in my blog. That is such a bummer, who want's to read a blog that hardly gets written in? It is very late and I'm about to fall asleep on the keyboard. I would hate to drool on the keyboard and electrocute myself. Not to mention that I would look pretty silly with computer key impressions embedded in my forehead.

Here is the Reader's Digest version of the past two weeks:

  • Had an artfair which was held on Saturday, May 9th. Met some nice people, sold a few things and had fun.
  • May 10th was Mother's Day. My hubby had taken the kids out of town for the night on the 9th, so I was able to have some quiet time. I ended up staying up too late, which is fairly easy for me to do. On Mom's Day, hubby and kids came home around dinner time, which was nice. They were very good to me.
  • My 46th birthday was on the 14th. It wasn't an easy birthday, but I survived. I got to watch my boy play t-ball then after wards I got to go home and eat chocolate cake with chocolate icing.
I thought I could finish this post, but I'm wrong. I'm very tired. I'm sorry this isn't a better post, I'll be better next time. For now...sleep well, I know I will!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Confessions of a PLB

It has been almost two weeks since my last post. Gee whiz, it sure doesn't take long for a blog to become neglected. Thankfully I take better care of my kids than I do my blog (and that might be one of the reasons my blog is neglected)! :)

I didn't win the Blockhead Radio Artisan Challenge, but it was fun to be included. No doubt I will submit something again. I love to be included in things like the artisan challenge and the Thursday Sweet Treat. I hope to do more of those things in the future. Thanks to those who visited the site and thanks to those who cast their vote for me!

I was thinking tonight that I have entered into a place of pettiness that I don't like. It's one of those things I don't want others to know about me and it's something I don't want to admit to myself.You might know the kind of thing I'm talking about. When things aren't going your way or the way you think they should be going, so you start being critical of others, just to make yourself feel better. I don't know, maybe it's just me....

I'm feeling discouraged about the sales in my Etsy shop. I'm trying not to dwell on it, because I know there are still so many more things I could be doing, (that I'm not), to help get some shop recognition. Also, I hate it when people whine about not having any sales, it makes me not want to buy from them at all. I don't want to be the whiner.

When I'm feeling whiney about the lack of shop sales, I'm highly critical and judgmental of those who are making sales. When I see people on the front page who have sold millions, making things that don't apeal to me, I start making those noises of disgust...similar to a cat coughing up a hairball. And I begin thinking like a 5-year-old: "no fair! she got 100 sales and I haven't gotten any!" "My arts bigger than your art!" "My art could whip your arts butt in a New York minute!" "Yeah, I could have more sales too if my daddy all my work"!

Yuck, Yuck, Yucky! I don't want to be this petty person.

I am sincerely happy for people who are successful at selling their wares. I admire those who are good at marketing, who are business saavy and who have good customer service skills. I want to know them and learn from them. I also want to be supportive of others who have a passion for creating things. I certainly have gotten so much support from my friends and the online community. I wouldn't still be making things if I hadn't been encouraged by people on Etsy.

Does someone else's success take away from me in any way?

Do I have to be critical of others to cover up my own insecurities? No!

I guess I just needed to get this off my chest. Even though I probably didn't say anything that made much sense to anyone else, it helped me to write about it. Maybe now I can be more productive and do the things I need to do like: promote some items in my shop, work on some marketing possibilities and most importantly be an encouragement to others who might need it.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Vote For Me on Blockhead Radio!


Woo Hoo! I'm really excited about this challenge because #1 it's fun, #2 it gets some exposure for my work and #3 I could potentially win some free advertising -which I need. If you want to vote for my drawing go to Blockhead Radio. Then find the Artisan Challenge, I'm in the 2d catagory.

I did do one foolish thing. I posted a drawing that I love, but isn't in my Etsy shop. When you click on the picture at Blockhead Radio, it brings you here...to my blog. So, if you're here and wanted to see my etsy shop it's here: www.sleeplessimagination.etsy.com.

Thanks for looking and remember: VOTE!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It Once Was Lost...When Will It Be Found?

As much as I love my craft cave (and I do love my craft cave), I'm still having a hard time getting organized. I've got things here, there, everywhere and it takes more time to find something than it does to do the thing I'm working on. It's very frustrating.

Tonight, like too many nights, I'm trying to find something. It's not something that is really that important, I don't really need it right now - it would just be nice to have. If I had it, it might make things a little easier, maybe help me plan ahead. I've been "tripping" over it for weeks now, as I search for other things, but now that I want it it's nowhere to be found.

I've looked in all the logical places. On my two desks, in every bookshelf, on the computer desk, the office supply cabinet...I've even looked in places that aren't so logical: under the futon, in the guest room...it's nowhere. What do you think I do? I start all over again with the two desks, the bookshelves, the computer desk and the office supply cabinet. And I do it again...and again....

I've wasted a lot of precious time looking for something that I don't need now and I'm starting to drive myself a little crazy. I have a stubborn streak, so now it's not so much that I need this thing, it's that I should be able to find it. There's a point to be made here. I know it's here, why isn't it where it should be? It's like I'm trying to prove something- I'll get you, you stupid little thing, I'm going to find you if it's the last thing I do! (insert maniacal laughter) My heart is racing, I'm sure my blood pressure is elevated and that stinkin' voice in my head is just yappin' it up, chiseling away at my self confidence: you're never going to find it in this mess; you really need to clean this place up; you know that you are wasting time looking for this, why don't you just give it up.

Oh-shut-up!

I've heard it said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. I would totally agree with this statement. The problem is, sometimes when I'm looking in the same place for the fifth or sixth time, I do find what I was looking for. It's like I'm being rewarded for being insane, so I keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result and getting it!

Now, one of two things is going to happen. I will either give up and work on more important things and hope the thing will turn up. Which it probably will when I'm looking for some other lost item. Or I will go buy a new thing, come home and the thing I was looking for in the first place will be sitting in plain sight. Then I will have more of the thing than I could possibly use.

I have big dreams of being so organized that I can sit down to do a project and not once have to get up to search for something. Every supply will be at arms length, I won't have to stand up, or dig under papers, or look through piles of "treasures" to find what I need. It will all be right there, in front of me. I guess I'll just have to accept that until I change what I'm doing - and clean my craft area - I will be spending lots of time running like a hamster in a exercise wheel, looking for things that aren't really that important to begin with. It seems like I should find a better way to use my time!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I've been busily trying to get some things done for the craft fairs I'm participating in this spring. Can you believe it? Me in more than one craft fair! Pretty wild. I've decided that I want to do some things other than illustrations, so I've been painting boxes, candlesticks and other wooden objects.

It has been fun, but I worry that I either won't have enough variety and quantity or that I will have too much quantity. If I have lots left over, then it goes into the craft cave, where I'll have to look at it every time I go to work in there - a reminder that nobody bought my stuff.

I think I'll keep this post short. I'm sensing a bunch of negative "vibes" coming out of my finger tips and I really don't want to see it in black and white. Most of all, I don't want it floating away in cyber space to come back and bite me in the rear some day! See?! Negative and paranoid! And it's sunny out, so why am I not more positive?

Oh, I did want to write one funny thing. Last Sunday I called my friend Sandy. I haven't talked to her in a very long time and I just wanted to check in. We've been friends for an eternity and before I was married with children, our average phone call was about 3 hours. That doesn't happen anymore.

Anyway, I was downstairs on the phone and the rest of my family was upstairs. My 6-year-old son had heard me laughing several times while I was on the phone (not an unusual occurrence when I talk to Sandy). Here's the conversation that happened between son and hubby:

son: what is mom laughing about?

hubby: oh, she's talking to Sandy.

son: why is she laughing?

hubby: I don't know.

son: they must be telling knock-knock jokes! :)

I'm also posting my latest painting that I submitted to last week's Thursday Sweet Treat. The topic was The Joy of Dance. The title of my painting is Joyful Dance and is done in watercolor pencil, colored pencil, ink on watercolor paper.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Craft Cave


I haven't written in a while and thought I'd better post something quick - before I get back to my evil ways of only posting once every 6 months or so. That wouldn't be good, would it?

Tonight, I want to write about my beloved Craft Cave. It is a dark, windowless room that originally was intended for storage. We do have some family items stored there: out of season clothes, suitcases, holiday decorations and boxes of momentos that no one has the emotional fortitude to get rid of. And in the midst of it all is a wall of boxes which hold my "valuable collections" of craft supplies, found objects and things I may need some day. I've also set up two desks, a book case and a cabinet that hold some more valuables.

When I was a kid living with my mom, I had the biggest room in the house. It was a large attic room and it was my haven. I spent many, many hours in that room listening to music (Bee Gees at age 13 and Heart in my late teens) and drawing, reading or daydreaming. I loved that room.

After leaving my mom's house (and my bedroom), I pretty much lived by myself until I got marriedin 2000. I haven't had an opportunity since then to have my own space. Whenever I claimed a space for myself, something would happen like, we'd rent the upstairs to someone and my craft area became the kitchen for the renter. When we had our son, our renter moved out, but I couldn't totally take the craftroom-turned-kitchen-turned-weird-empty-room-with-a-sink over for myself. I had to share it with my husband, our computer and our never ending pile of accumulated papers. Besides, I didn't have much time to craft...I was trying to adjust to life with a baby.

Then baby #2 came along and she needed her own space. The office/craft space/accumulated paper storage became my daughter's bedroom. By that time, I was starting to want to spend more time being creative, which involved having more supplies and needing more space to work. My projects and supplies were spilling over into the dinning room, the office area, the living room, the basement and sometimes our bedroom. Lucky for me, my husband really hates clutter and he began to see the light ("see the light" = "Laura needs her own space"). When it came time to look for a new house, one of the priorities was that we would make sure there was room for my crafting.

In August 2008, we found this house, with a family room, a guest room and a storage room that I could use as my craft area. We recruited some of our friends to help us move. The embarassing thing was that since I had stored a lot of stuff for so many years and was good at making it all fit into tiny spaces, I had no idea how much I really had. I would say more than 50% of the boxes that were moved to the new place were marked "craft room". Oops!


Anyway, now I have this space, with all my stuff out of boxes, surrounding me, inspiring me and just plain making me happy. I love it in there. Sometimes I have to share it with my kids - which I'm not very good at (the sharing part), but I'm learning. They are 3 and 6 and have a tendency not to understand the importance of peace and quiet in my creative space. Sometimes I forget too and I yell: "quit being mean to your sister! Stop writing on your brother's picture!" I finally made up craft cave rules: Rule #1 no yelling, screaming, spitting, complaining, whining or potty talk. Rule #2 If you can't follow rule number 1, then you have to leave.

My space is not very neat and tidy, but it's getting there. I purposely left out any photos of our storage stuff because, it's really not that interesting! I love seeing photos of where people do their creative work. I've been wanting to share photos of my work space for a long time. Thanks for taking a look!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Figuring Out a Plan of Action


I always thought I was an organized person, until I became a stay-at-home mom. Now, I am faced with chaos where ever I go: dirty laundry, dirty dishes, messy bedroom, messy family room, toys in the yard, leaves on the deck, clothes and towels on the bathroom floor and loads and loads of craft "treasures" as far as the eye can see in the craft cave.

(uh, here's an aside...I call it the "Craft Cave", because it's a room in the basement that has no windows. I love it! I know there are advantages to having windows in one's craft studio and someday maybe I'll have that. But for now, I'm just thrilled to have a space to call my own).

I'm also challenged in the areas of planning ahead and setting goals. I've come to appreciate the fact that life is a lot easier if these skills can be mastered, so I'm trying very hard to work in that direction. After all, the more activities, projects and people you add to your life, the more you have to be on top of things or you'll just go crazy and it won't be any fun, right? It occurred to me last night that I have committed myself to three art fairs within the next 8 weeks plus an art exhibit in June. If I don't get a game plan, I'll be showing up to these events with a little card table with some cards, a couple of magnets and a few prints. I'd really like to have more of a variety than that!

I have wanted to expand my "product line" to include some hand painted wooden items (boxes, candle sticks and wall hanger-peg-thingies). I tend to get overwhelmed then I can't focus enough to start or finish any of my "brilliant" ideas. So last night, I decided that I will spend the next 8 weeks working on getting new items to take to the art fairs. Then I'll use my submissions to the Thursday Sweet Treat to make new prints, magnets and cards. If I follow through, I should have plenty of new items to keep things fresh.

I feel a little better now, since I have a plan of action. Keep your fingers crossed that I will consistently work toward that goal! With this post, I'm including my latest Sweet Treat entry. The topic this week is Vibrant Chaotic Rainbow. Be sure to check out the other submissions on Thursday, you won't believe the incredible ways people interpret the topic. You'll see some really wonderful art!

Monday, March 9, 2009

New Drawing


I just wanted to post something colorful, since I haven't done that in a few days. This is a colored pencil drawing that I started quite awhile ago, but didn't finish until recently. I'll probably work on it a little more, but not much.

That's all for now. Have a great day!

Cyber Friends

I love having cyber friends. I love checking my email and finding several messages, for me, from people I met online. People who live hundreds (thousands?) of miles away. People I've never seen or heard their voices. It blows me away how amazing technology is; that it allows us to instantly communicate with each other no matter how far apart we are.

I have gotten a lot of information and support from my friends in the cyber world. Without them, I never would have had the courage to post any of my artwork on line. I never would've produced as much work as I have and I certainly wouldn't be having all this fun! I am incredibly thankful to have found people who have a passion for creating and who are generous with their knowledge and encouragement.

Thank you for supporting me in my creative endeavors. Thank you to all of you who take the time to write comments on my blog, send me emails or convos (in Etsy shop). I truly appreciate it!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pretending to Be Positive

I was going to title this post "I Hate the Way My Etsy Shop Looks!" but I thought that didn't sound very positive. I have not had a very good week. It's really no big deal, in the long run and measured next to matters of life and death it's pretty low on the "importance scale". Still, I'm just irritated and cranky and sad and disappointed. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, maybe it will explain a little why I'm going to whine about my Etsy shop.

uh hmm. Here goes:

For some reason, every time I go to my etsy shop, I just feel disappointed. I don't like the way it looks, so I find myself avoiding it (this is how I often deal with things that are unpleasant to me. I think I mentioned this in another, older post). My goal for the earlier part of this year was to revamp my shop. I wanted to get more items in the shop, better photos, better descriptions and just make it look nicer. I want it to look like someone cares about it and hasn't abandoned it for the winter.

I did a couple of good things. I did add a few new items, changed my banner, got a new avatar and re-wrote some descriptions. However, I think it looks weird. I like the banner and avatar, but the shop itself looks kind of odd. Like you've walked into some psychedelic 60's shop with black light posters all around. It's too bright and too much to look at, so you close your eyes and hope it goes away (kind of like sleeping in a dark room and having someone abruptly open the blinds to let the brightest, most annoying sun light in). No wonder I have such a bounce rate according to Google Analytics! Others must feel the same way.

I just have to get better photos. I feel like I've already taken so many pictures of my things, but honestly, a lot of them aren't very good. I'm going to have to try some more, I guess. Spring is coming, so maybe I'll be more motivated and have more energy to make things look pretty. I hope so. You probably hope so too, so you don't have to hear me whine about it again.

Stay tuned for my next Blog Post: "Why I Hate the Way My Blog Looks".

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Insecurity

The past year and 4 months have been really fun and exciting as far as creativity goes. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would have so many people looking at my drawings (and when I say "so many" I really mean "more than five members of my immediate family"). I've gotten such positive feedback which has given me confidence to do more things. I've also seen beautiful art by many people and been able to chat with artists who inspire me. In addition, I've had opportunities to participate in craft fairs, be interviewed for the local paper, sell on consignment in another state. These are things I never imagined I'd be able to do. So, it's really amazing and I'm so happy!

But I've noticed lately how emotionally needy I am becoming when I put some piece of artwork "out there". I find that when I put something in my blog, or on face book or twitter or some other place, whether it's something I've written or an illustration, I just sit and wait for feedback.

And sometimes I don't get any.

Then I become a little obsessed with not getting feedback. Does this mean no one likes it? Does this mean no one is visiting my blog/etsy shop/facebook page/twitter posts? Are my 15 minutes of "fame" over? Am I ready to have all my creative juices dry up again and all I'll be able to do is draw the letters of my own name?

I feel like I'm in junior high or something, it's so SILLY! If no one in the world ever commented on my art again, or gave me any feedback about it, wouldn't that be ok? It would still be a wonderful outlet for me. It would still be fun and exciting. I could still get inspiration from and communicate with others.

I don't "do art" so that people will stroke my pitiful little ego. I do it because it's helping me have something that is my own when my full time job is to do other things that make me feel inadequate (taking care of little kids who are all too eager to let me know how I've failed them, keeping the house clean, cooking, paying bills, etc. All things that aren't my strength, but I'm responsible for anyway). I do it because it's theraputic and because I really need to use all these craft supplies I've been hoarding over the years!

If you are reading this post, please don't feel obligated to leave a comment. This is not a thinly designed ploy for feedback. In fact, it might be better if you don't leave any feedback, so I can just "get over myself"! :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Let Beauty Rain Down Upon...


I completed my submission for this week's Thursday Sweet Treat. The topic is: Let Beauty Rain Down Upon... I never feel completely confident in what I've come up with for the challenge. I love doing it though. It gives me an assignment and a deadline which is good for my creative "muscles".

This painting was done in watercolors with black ink on watercolor paper. The text reads: Beauty rains down on me, healing my wounded soul. I think creativity is one of the most healing things in this life. A gift and desire given to us by God. I'm so thankful for the desire to create and the healing it brings me!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Something I Love

I don't sketch very much but feel like I need to start doing it more. I think if I'm ever going to get better at drawing, I need to practice more than I do.

In the summer of 2006, I took a watercolor class from a woman at church (who, by the way, is very talented). One of the things we did for class was buy a sketch book to draw in. I didn't do much sketching (until recently), but here is the drawing on the first page:
It is of my daughter sleeping. She wasn't quite a year old at the time, so she was still taking naps. I love to watch my kids sleeping, they are so beautiful and sweet and content. As far as drawing skills go, this isn't really that great, but I love it anyway and wanted to share it here.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pic for Blog Entry

This will be a short post. I finished a piece I'm submitting to a blog called Thursday Sweet Treat. I'm really excited about entering this week's challenge "Where the Wild Things Bloom". Tomorrow all entries will be up, check it out!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Not Sure How to Put it All Together

The end of December I decided to start being more consistent with writing in my blog, spending time in Etsy forums and in general, trying to promote my creations as much as possible (without being obnoxious). I've had some really cool opportunities come along in the past few months.

The latest thing is that one of the listings in my shop was picked for Timothy Adam's Top 10 Monday. This may not mean much to some people, but to me it was an honor to be chosen. Timothy works really hard to promote other Etsy shops and to help people learn how to use Etsy and other websites. He also provides tutorials for how to market our shops. If nothing else, I'm just in awe of how much time this guy spends helping others. I can't imagine that he has time to do his own art!

Because of being on this popular website, I could potentially get a lot of views to my shop and possible traffic to this blog. Pretty cool. I just need to figure out how to keep the momentum going and how to turn views into sales. Right now, I feel like my shop doesn't really have a lot of stuff in it. Maybe it's because I look at it all the time and I'm starting to get bored with it. I hope nobody else is! I think I need to relist some things that I haven't had in the shop for awhile.

So this week, why don't I set a goal to get um....ok 5 more things in my shop. That's FIVE. :)

If you haven't visited Timothy Adam's blog, it will be well worth your time. He has fun contests and tons of valuable information. Plus if you go there this week, you can click on #6 of his top 10 for February 2 and you'll see my Tulip Sun ACEO.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What I Did at the Super Bowl Party

I ate lots of dip, cake and drank lots of Pepsi. All things I will regret in the morning. That much sugar tends to make me feel like I have a hang over the next day. Not good, I know...

I did socialize a little too and I got to spend time drawing. It was pretty much as perfect as a football party can be (for a girl who's not that into football).

This is the unfinished product:

I will work on it a little more. I like the colors, but I'm not sure I'll turn it into a card or anything. It was just fun to do.

Tomorrow another week starts. Hopefully, it will be very productive and creative! I have lots of things I need to be working on.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Face It....You Caved!

In an effort to keep up with the times and to use the resources that are available to help market my shop, I opened a Facebook account today. I'm not really sure how it works and the whole thing makes me a little nervous. As soon as I started my account and signed in, Facebook called up a whole group of people (with photos) that I "might know". I knew a bunch of those people!

So does this mean that every time someone who has the same location, high school or college opens a Facebook account, my name will appear on their list of people they might know? Isn't that just a little freaky? So much for being anonymous!

I really do just want to find the best ways to market my art. I suppose this is growing pains for me. Learning to adjust to what's new out there. Embracing the fact that anyone, anywhere at anytime can find me, know who I am, know what I am doing and who I am with. Maybe I should just start living in a fishbowl too. :)

You know, it's posts like this and attitudes like this that make me think I'm turning into my Grandma! Yikes.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Most Awesome Workshops

There is a woman on our Etsy Street Team named Lisa Bartlett who holds workshops at Orr Street Studios here in Columbia. She is a mixed media artist who does amazing art and is very generous in helping others promote their art.

In September, I took my first workshop with Lisa. It was mixed media 3-D collage class and it was the most fun I'd had in a very long time. When I walked in the door of Orr Street Studios there were tables and tables of hardware, magazines, papers, posters, photos, etc. Our "job" that day was to spend the next 6 hours, choosing whatever goodies we could find on those tables and turn them into works of art. I felt like I was at the ultimate yard sale (I love yard sales!). I could have anything I wanted because it was included in the price of the workshop!

I met some nice people and spent a relaxing day being creative. I ended up making one small piece and starting one large piece. Below is a photo of the small piece (the one I spent most of my time on).
Even though it's a very simple piece, I like it because it's the first thing I ever made in this 3-D medium. It also combines my love of "treasures" with art.

I took another workshop from Lisa last weekend. It was held at the same place and the same rules applied-have fun, relax and be creative (if only those were the rules for most other areas of my life)! I was able to make 3 pieces this time: two small and one large. I am still putting some finishing touches on the big piece and plan to try to sell it at an art show tmer. It is collage on a birch wood panel. I used a photo from a magazine and some beautiful Japanese papers. The butterfly came from an old "how to draw butterflies"-type book. I like the way this turned out and am excited to finish it. I already know what I'm going to do and have most of the components made, I just have to put it all together. I'll post another photo when I'm finished.

The second thing I made measures 5"x5" (approximately). I love bending wire and making all kinds of different shapes with it. I have a little box in my bead box, filled with wire creations I've made. A couple of years ago, I discovered how cool shapes look when they are done in thicker wire and hammered flat. The three shapes in this piece were made a year or more ago and I'm thrilled I was able to finally use them.

I glued beads on that I received for Christmas, the background is painted blue with some green tissue paper mod podged on. I think it's cute and it was easy and fun.

By the way, using tissue paper and mod podge together is wonderful! You can make the neatest things out of those two materials together. I've cut out shapes to form a collage picture, then after it's dry, outlined the image in black ink. I've also done just a background in tissue paper and glued decorative paper on top. If you haven't tried it, you should. I plan on incorporating more of it in my own work.

My final piece is a 7" x 7" pine wood plaque (like you can buy at any craft store and probably even Walmart). I glued torn scraps of Japanese paper to the background, painted the edges black, glued an earring (the face) onto a small piece of wood painted black and a domino on it.

I added the gold lines later with a paint pen because the black space needed something else. I like this piece but feel like it may not be that original. I will probably be selling this one as well.

Thanks for taking a look at my things. I love doing assembledge art. In fact, this may be what I was made to do. I really love collecting little trinkets, scraps of wood, paper and fabric. Now I can glue all that stuff onto boards or cigar boxes or whatever and I'll be making art. Woo hoo! It doesn't get much better than this! Of course, my husband may not be too happy with me justifying storing more "potential" craft projects in our house. Poor guy, he only thought he knew what he was getting into when he married me! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Software

There was a time that I was pretty "up" on what was happening in the computer world. However, those days are over. The fact that I haven't worked for a computer company in over 15 years and I haven't worked outside my home for 6+ years, has put me a little behind the times. It's frustrating. I want to learn all the new stuff, but gee whiz, who has that kind of time? By the time I figure something out, "they" have already come up with something to replace my newly acquired skills.

I'm mentioning this because I have some new publishing software I got for Christmas. I bought it so that I could set up my own cards instead of having the printer do it. In theory, this will save me money, a lot of frustration and help me be in more control over what I'm having printed. It's just hard to find the time to get this figured out. I was able to set up some cards last night. Tomorrow I'll take them to the printer to see how they turn out. I'm crossing my fingers.

Tonight, I scanned one of my most recent drawings. Scanning is another thing I'm just figuring out. Nothing like computers to help a person feel dumber than a box of rocks!

Here it is:
This is colored pencil and ink on bristol paper. The original idea was drawn in my sketch book, then I copied it (freehand) and colored it. I'm not sure it will look good on a card, but will probably be good as a print.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Latest Finished Product


It may not be completely finished, but I'm posting it anyway. It's a drawing done in watercolor pencil and black ink on watercolor paper. I've spent about a week on it and like the way it turned out. I think I'll make some prints and cards from it and try to sell them in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Tiny Voice and the Flitter of Panic

Sometimes while I'm doing some chore, like dishes or laundry or driving a kid somewhere, I think about my little business. I wonder to myself what I should do next. What can I do to get some people to notice me and to get more traffic to my blog and Etsy shop? Should I promote more in the forums and on other blogs? Should I make more things to add to my shop?

Whenever I think I should make something new, there is a little flitter of panic. The tiniest little voice that says, "what if there is nothing left to make? What if you are all out of ideas and you couldn't put something new in your shop if your life depended on it?"

I hate that tiny voice. But instead of freaking out and calling the tiny voice all kinds of nasty names, I just say to myself (very calmly), "well, it's possible that could happen. Maybe I am out of ideas and all the creative energy is gone. I'll just have to wait and see I guess." Remaining calm, helps me not give "power" to the tiny voice.

The fact is, the past year has been the most productive (creatively speaking) time of my life. I have loved every minute of it. I love having new ideas, I love being able to put the ideas down on paper (or canvas) and I love that one idea can lead to another and another and another. Prior to this, I was really stuck. I called it being "creatively constipated". I wanted so badly to make something - anything but I was too afraid I would make a mistake or make something really bad. I just kept buying supplies and thinking about what I could make.

The best thing that has happened to the creative part of my brain, is that I've given myself permission to make bad stuff. Things that are ugly, or weird or stupid. So I don't have to worry about mistakes. I make them, then move on.

I like being in this place much better than the constipation thing. And if someday I do run out of ideas, I could probably make a bunch of money by selling all my supplies in a garage sale. Until then, I'm just going to make stuff and not let the tiny voice steal my joy!

Here are some paintings I've done that I don't think are posted anywhere else:







The flower picture is called (this is so clever) "Flowers in Blue Heart Vase" and the other is called "In Celebration".

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Much Better


The photos I took last night turned out much better than the ones the night before. I'm glad. They aren't perfect, but I can still post them and that's all I want right now.

I have some random drawings floating around that I've worked on within the past few months, weeks, days. This one was in my sketchbook and is one of my favorites. I used my new Prismacolor colored pencils to color it. I love my colored pencils, they are so fun to work with.

I had planned to color this whole image in, but kind of like it the way it is. I don't have plans for it, just like to look at it.

I'm rambling tonight because I'm tired and need to go to sleep. I just wanted to stop in and say "hi!"

Until next time....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Ain't No Photo-grapher!

I'm not sure why, but listing things in my Etsy shop always seems so incredibly overwhelming. Since I've convinced myself it's a hard thing to do, I tend to procrastinate - which is how I solve many of my life challenges (maybe I'll address that particular issue in another post...). And of course, procrastination rarely solves anything. In fact, most of the time it creates a whole other list of problems.

I have a pile of cards and magnets that I would love to sell. However, since I won't list them, I am the only one who knows I have them. They aren't doing me much good sitting around collecting dust in the Craft Cave. So last night, I made a light box, got my dad's fancy schmancy camera out (he loaned it to me months ago). I was so proud of myself. With every shot, the weight of procrastination became lighter and lighter, until I was finished. It was about 12:30 a.m. or so, but I decided to take a look at the 300+ photos I took. Here's just a sample:

You might be asking yourself "what's wrong with these photos?" well, nothing, if you like your photos to be YELLOW. Every picture, ALL 300+ of them are YELLOW! Man, I'm mad! I spent at least two hours trying to accomplish this task and all my photos look like poop!

Like any good Etsian, I took my frustration to the Forums:

Photo Rant

And the most wonderful thing happened: within 5 minutes I had at least 18 posts from people providing solutions. That is one of the many reasons I love Etsy. I can sit in my basement, in Columbia, Missouri in the middle of the night, send out a cry for help and people from all over the globe offer their support. It blows my mind.

Thanks to everyone who posted on the thread. I sure appreciate it. Now, I'm off to try to do my photos again. Since I'm armed with more wisdom than I had last night, I'm sure everything will turn out fine!