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".