Friday, March 30, 2012

A Quote to Keep in Mind

I read this over on the Green Paper blog and thought it would speak to a lot of us.

Here’s something to keep in mind on those days when you just think you don’t have it in you anymore to create.

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”-Ira Glass”

I found this to be so true of me and my art.  So on those days when things just don’t work, when it just seems that everything coming from beneath my hands is junk, when it seems that I will never create a half-way decent piece of art again, I’ll remember these words and know there is hope.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

I’m Hosting a Tag Book Swap

I’m hosting a Tag Book Swap over on the AlteredPages-Artsociates blog where I am known as the Swap Princess. Smile

The theme is Wild West and you will make a Tag Book using at least 5 tags.  Tags must be no smaller than 2-3/8” x 4-3/4” and can be bound with something as simple as a binder ring.  Decorating the back of the tags is not necessary, though I’ll probably place a theme-related picture on the back of mine just to cover the up the blah color of my tags.

Deadline to sign up is March 31st with the Tag Book mailed out to me no later than April 16th.  I’ll be hosting swaps on on a regular basis on the AlteredPages-Artsociates blog starting April 15th so if anyone has suggestions for themes or mediums to use, let me know.  All help is greatly appreciated!

For more information, click HERE, or you can email me at

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Angel-ing for Swaps

I have started hosting a regular, monthly ATC swap over on Milliande.  Hosting swaps comes with a lot of responsibility and I take that very seriously.  So, when I had several people “flake” on my last two swaps, I knew what I had to do.

I “Angel’d”.  The below cards are two of the ATCs that I made as “replacements” for the cards some of my participants never received.  


Most of the time, in my posts, I try to insert a little silliness; keep the tone light.  However, this time, I’m being serious.

If you make the commitment to participate in a swap, KEEP THAT COMMITMENT.  Yes, “Life” has a way of crashing in on you at the worst times.  I know, it happened to me recently.  However, if you are going to be late sending out a swap, please let your partner or partners know.  Most if not all will understand.  If for some reason you cannot fulfill your swap commitment, please let your hostess and your partner or partners know.  Show a little common courtesy.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.

I now have to ban at least three people from ever participating in my swaps.  They never replied to their partner’s inquiries nor to mine when I wrote to see if there was a problem in their life that was keeping them from completing the swap.  In their defense, maybe something horrible has happened (I truly hope not) & they can’t respond.  Maybe I will finally hear from them and if they have a good enough excuse, they will be readmitted to my swaps. 

People, a commitment is a promise.  Please keep it.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Latest ATC - Embrace the Day

This card is for the April “Springtime in Paris” ATC swap over on the Blissful ATC Swap Blog


The background is fabric (I love to use fabric) and the pastel flowers are from my stash of Prima flowers.  The blue and white ones as well as the trailing white one were in a box of flower pieces gotten at auction.  The centers of the flowers are little self-adhesive half-pearls I found at Michael’s for $1.00 a package. 

Sorry for the shadows.  I am having to take my pictures outside (haven’t had time to set up my desktop picture studio yet) and the sun wasn’t quite overhead anymore.  Sunshine makes wonderful pictures if you can get everything set right, it’s just that I’m definitely no photographer!

This was one of the easier cards I’ve made.  I normally have trouble with any type of Spring theme since me and pastels don’t get along very well, but this just fell together in a short amount of time.  Guess thinking about what I was going to do off and on for a week helped!

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Favorite Artist ATCs–Lesson Learned

NEVER NEVER NEVER choose Salvador Dali as you Favorite Artist on which to base ATCs.  I spent nearly three weeks beating my head against a wall (figuratively) trying to finish 6 ATCs using his art as my theme.  LOVE his paintings, HATE turning them into ATCs.

I’ll post the pictures but in this instance, I can honestly say the photos do not do the cards justice.  These are not flat, printed pictures and nothing else.  These have actually been turned into 3D ATCs.  You just can’t see thanks to the camera.  There’s no depth of field. 

I literally could not think of anything else to do.  Flowers, nope; ribbons, nope; metal embellishments, nope.  NOTHING else worked.  I did end up using some vintage pieces of jewelry and a few embellishments that seemed to fit the theme.  Also, on several of the ATCs, you can see I used acrylic blocks in order to include a picture of the artist himself.  In person, they look amazing.  I used a 3-dimensional glue to adhere the picture to the acrylic.  Gave it some depth so it doesn’t look like a picture slapped onto a piece of acrylic. 

Anyway, here they are:


The four middle cards all have 3D effects that the camera turned into a flat picture.  The top card is basically as you see it and so is the bottom card.  I promise, they look much better in person than on this post.  If they didn’t, I would not be sending them out to swap (I refuse to mail out crap)…..I would have redone every last one of them.  All of the backgrounds pictures were printed on glossy photo paper, something I don’t recommend doing.  While I sometimes like the effect the real photo look gives the ATC, working with photo paper is hard.  It scratches very easily and doesn’t take well to glue removal – sometimes I’m a little too liberal with my glue application.

BTW……. when I took the pictures, the cards looked like they were laying flat.  However, when I transferred them onto my computer, it became very obvious that they are not; they look bowed.  How can you flatten the cards, especially when they are heavily embellished or 3D’d like mine?  I would LOVE to know.

I do have to say this stretched my limits as an artist (ha ha, yeah, I call myself that sometimes).  I’m pretty much a “vintage” look person.  Working with something so modern was hard, caused me to think, and made me realize I need a bigger stash of embellishments and the like (anyone up for a little internet shopping?).   Oh, and I was so stymied several times that my husband even tried to help me (shocker!).

So, on to the next challenge……Sherlock Holmes Inchies anyone?  Oh yeah, I was the one that came up with that bright idea.  Sigh.  Stay tuned……………….

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bass Fishing

Not the title you would expect here, huh?  Well, let me tell you…….I have learned more about Bass Fishing Tournaments in the last two weeks than I EVER cared to know.
See, Number One Son has decided he wants to be a professional bass fisherman.  Yep, we are talking Bass Master Classic level dreams.  So, his father and I have embarked upon the path by which we help make this dream a reality.  We’ve researched, read web pages until we have turned blue in the face, looked at the cost (YIKES!), and are now to the point of ordering professional fishing jerseys.  He’s got his partner, he’s got his boat (or one of his sponsor’s boats), he’s got his baits, his rods, his reels.  Mom and Dad have got a BIG headache. LOL
Bang head
Let me say this; it’s CONFUSING!  There’s this club to join and that club to join.  Then there’s sponsors.  Ever tried to get sponsors for teenagers?  I am SO proud of my son and his partner.  They accomplished the near impossible.  Number One Son and his partner have SEVEN, yes SEVEN sponsors!  And we are talking GOOD sponsors.  Some are even PAYING sponsors while others have given free or discounted goods.  And yes, Mommy Dearest and Grandmommy Dearest are also sponsors (through our Etsy stores). 
Their first high school tournament is in June.  In preparation, they have joined a local adult fishing club and are fishing those local tournaments as practice for the big upcoming high school tournaments.  There are three huge ones coming up…..and none are near us. 
What does that mean?  It means Mommy Dearest gets to figure out how to pay for hotel rooms, meals, gas, and other necessities for two-day fishing tourneys.  Luckily, his partner’s parents are on-board with this and will pay half the cost.   It may mean a lot of doubling up in hotel rooms, but we want to give the kids every chance to realize their dream.
Isn’t that what parents are for?
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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Just a Little Bit of Heartache

I don’t think I blogged about this, but I applied for an artistic grant a couple of months ago and have been waiting patiently every since.

First, I should say that 1) I’ve never completed a grant application before and 2) Louisiana is so FULL of talented artists it blows the mind.  Therefore, while I applied, I wasn’t really wasn’t expecting to be chosen for the grant & while I gave it my all, I wasn’t one of the lucky 36 (out of 268).

So, no grant to help further my art this year.  BUT…..let me say this.  I NEVER would have even had a chance if I had not applied.

Yes, I opened myself up to the possibility of heartache the very moment I decided to apply, but I also opened myself up to the chance of succeeding.  So, would I do this again? YES in a heart-beat.  Why?  Because you can’t win if you don’t try.

When Monday morning rolls around, I will be on the phone to the Louisiana Division of the Arts finding out exactly what the panelists had to say about my application.  And the reason?  Because I WILL TRY AGAIN.  Yep, and again, and again, and again until I succeed.  I want to know what I did that wasn’t up to par so I can correct my errors and increase my future chances of receiving a grant.

Yes, there will be those little bits of heartache when I lose, but the reward when (notice I did not say if?) I win will be worth it.

Until later……………………………

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Monday, March 5, 2012

The Great Lizard Chase

Got your attention huh? 

The great lizard chase occurs in my studio on a regular basis.  See, my studio is actually a 10 x 12 metal storage building that my hubby and I fitted out & turned into studio space.  I have walls, a floor, A/C, heat, lighting; you know, all the things necessary in a studio (well, except a sink which I really need but have no room for).  It sits in my backyard and even has nice flower beds on either side of the door.  There’s just one problem.  LIZARDS!

I love lizards.  I think they are cute and boy do they eat a lot of bugs.  What I don’t like is they are somehow finding a way into my studio.  And if I don’t find them, guess what I get.  Yeah, desiccated lizards that scare the turkey out of me.

Case in point.  I have one of those multi-bin cabinets like you see in hardware stores, except this one has a hinged glass front.  Kind of unique.  Well, I decided one day that I would go rooting around in those bins to see if I could find something useful for a project I was working on.  So I pull out the partial paper clip that keeps it shut (year, really high tech closure there) and "EEEKKKKK!!!!!!" a dead lizards falls out.  Okay, not expecting that.  I’m sure the entire neighborhood heard me.

So I find two pieces of cardboard, scoop up the poor, departed lizard and send him to the great lizard resting place in the sky (nah, just chunked him into the flower bed outside my door). 
Okay, no biggie, it’s just one lizard.  But the next weekend, there’s another one, lying totally desiccated in the middle of the floor (at the time, what little of the floor I could see).  So scoop him up, chunk him out.  Now there’s been two dead lizards, but hey, nothing to get upset about, it’s just a coincidence.

Go into the studio the next day, ANOTHER desiccated lizard lying on the floor.  Now, enough is enough.  Finding one is okay, finding two, well it’s stretching it, but still okay.  Finding three, now that’s a PATTERN!

So the great lizard chase begins.  I have caught several of the little buggers after chasing them up and down windows and walls, across and under work tables, across the floor, and then back around again.  So far, I have had only one escape.  That happened this Sunday.  I had chased him to the door and before I could get it open, zoom, he took off under the shelving and down the side where I couldn’t reach him. 

I’m sure next weekend, I’ll find him.  Right when I’m not expecting it, his dearly departed body will scare the bejesus out of me.

Don’t I live such an exciting life! SIGH
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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Just A Little Altered Art

I haven’t posted some of my latest attempts at altering things, mainly because I haven’t been very pleased.  See, I ventured into uncharted waters.  That’s right, I altered things I’d never altered before.

What do you ask did I alter?  Tins!  Yes, two different types of tins.  First, I entered the Naughty Valentine Swap that was hosted by Alpha Stamps, where we used round tins with glass tops, and then I entered a Valentine Tin Swap on Roses on My Table where we used the equivalent of an Altoids tin.

Here are my Naughty Valentine tins.  It was really hard to get good  pictures.  They are not very big.


See, nothing to crow about.  Plus, it was all icky outside and I had to take pictures inside my studio so what little I did accomplish is hard to see.

Next were the Valentine tins for Roses:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA           Here, I was a little plain.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  I kept it neat and tidy

This one, my husband called, and I quote, “GROSS”.  Yes, the graphic representation of  holding a heart was just awful to him.

Tons and tons of work (& lots of hours) went into these tins and I just never really felt like it was clicking.  I’ve been suffering from mild artistic block recently (probably due to the fact I’m once again on pain pills for my back problem - Lortab & creativity do not mix), but these are just awful.  I hope my swap partners aren’t too upset when they receive these.

I just finished up six ATCs for a swap on Roses where the theme was Favorite Artist.  Word to the wise; DO NOT chose Salvador Dali as your favorite artist and attempt to make ATCs.  Wait until you see these.  Talk about hitting a brick wall and then just standing there banging your head against it.  Pictures in all their awfulness will be coming soon LOL.

Also, I’m almost finished with tags for a Lights, Camera, Action Tag swap on Roses.  I had one tag that just didn’t seem “finished” to me and today I finally figured out what to do.  Amazing considering the block continues.

Now, on to try and finish up my Altered Box swap whose theme is Housewives.  TOTAL BLOCKAGE there and to make it worse, I’m the HOSTESS for the swap. 

Until Later……………………….

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Great Studio De-Clutter & Reorganization

Okay, I mentioned a couple of weeks back that I was overhauling my studio…..actually making it into a REAL studio instead of a just a place crammed with stuff where I happen to work on art and miniatures.

WARNING:  This post is heavy on the pictures and carries scary scenes of clutter!

Well, here are the BEFORE pics:

Computer Desk  My Computer Desk & part of my Repair/Jewelry Table – YIKES!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA           This was between my Repair Desk & my Display Cabinet.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         This looked down the first aisle, South side of my storage shelves.
Floor of Storage Section
This mess was on the East end of my studio.
Floor Yes, I should be embarrassed.
Looking into Storage part of Studio Another look at what was on the East end.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         The clutter that is now my Miniature Table & my Art Table.
Miniature Desk Another view.  Yes, the cabinet with all the paint is still there but the other mess has been cleared.  The paint is necessary for the miniature buildings on tap to be put together.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         North section of half my studio.  Yes, those are hat boxes.  I could barely reach my postage scale.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA           The second aisle, South side.  I couldn’t even get to ANYTHING on this aisle! It is where a lot of my miniature supplies and furniture are housed.

Are you horrified enough?  I actually tried to CREATE in the clutter.  I was constantly tripping over things, knocking stuff over, forgetting what I had, or not being able to get to what I needed.  It was to the point I didn’t even want to go out there.  So, after reading a few old Studio and Where Women Create magazines, I was inspired to do what should have been done a LONG time ago…….Clean Up!

Here are the After pics:

Art Desk Clean Art TableFloor by Computer Desk I can actually roll to my Computer Table.  The drill has since been picked up and returned to my tool box.
P1010020  Top of Computer Table – most of what you see on the right is stuff waiting on the paper organizer.
P1010022 I actually have empty shelves!
Now I can place my new paper organizer in this corner and I can get to the East ends of my studio!  The display case you see (there are actually two) is in need of repair and will move to under my Repair Table once my paper organizer is placed.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         First aisle on South side.  Now I can reach my paints, poly clay, brushes, and other necessities.P1010039 A place for my die cut machines and die cuts.
P1010044 My Repair/Jewelry Table with my most used die cut machine – some of what is sitting on the table will be moved to the top of the paper organizer, like my resin supplies and the wood cabinet behind them.  The two baskets currently house small items that need repairing.  I will probably hang them on the beams above the table so they will be easily accessible and always in plain site (that way, I don’t forget what I need to repair). P1010046 Yes, still cluttered in front of my Repair/Jewelry Table, but the paper organizer that just came in will tame most of it.  The rest will find a home on the empty shelves I now have!
P1010048 This is to the side of my Art Table.  Again, I was waiting on my paper organizer to arrive.P1010049 This is under and at the very back of my Art Table.  All the jewelry for my space at the Antique Mall will be stored here, along with bubble wrap and packing peanuts for my Etsy stores.  This cabinet used to stand in the corner now set aside for my paper organizer.  I placed it on its side and the spaces are a perfect place for the shoeboxes that house my costume jewelry inventory.P1010050 View of my now clean Miniature Table.  Se e my huge tool box in the background?  My hubby bought me that for Christmas two years ago.  I LOVE my tool box.  Now I can always  find my tools be they for miniature or life-sized projects.
P1010052 My Art Table showing new shelf for holding my supply of embellishments in their plastic organizers and the new tabletop shelf for holding my gels mediums, gessos, & other sealants.  All my buttons now reside in the large glass jar to the left.  It used to contain polished rocks, but those have been moved outside to my flower beds.  They are housed in a terra cotta saucer so I have them if I need them.  They look pretty out there and are still readily available.
P1010053 This is a small jeweler’s table that I keep my glues, fan, sticker machine, etc. on.  The small top drawer houses paper for wrapping packages and small plastic baggies.  the lower, open drawer houses things such as the drafting brush I use to clean my desk off, Q-tips, small plastic containers for paint and/or water, and other items I constantly use and need to be able to reach quickly.P1010055 See, I can actually find my Computer Desk.  Some of the items on the top are waiting on the paper organizer.
P1010056  Containers for my paper flowers and beads.
P1010057 Above my Repair/Jewelry Table.   See all my neatly corralled glitter glue?P1010059 Part of my Reference Book collection.
P1010061 Above my Art TableP1010064 View down the North side of my Studio showing the rest of my Reference section.
P1010065  I utilize the ceiling for flowers, jewelry parts, gauze, etc.P1010066  View toward the West end of my studio.  I hang my lace & ribbon from wooden dowels hung on large white cup hooks.  All I have to do is reach up and the lace & ribbon are at my fingertips.
P1010067 Another view of the West wall.

I actually made enough room that I could mount two much needed task lights.  One on my Art Table and one on my Jewelry/Repair table. 

Yes, I still have a lot of “stuff”.  But 98% of it is now corralled in storage containers, organizers, and baskets.  Excess supplies like lace and items for my space at the Antique Mall are now in storage.  Items that I didn’t want or need were donated to Goodwill.  I now can roll from one desk to another, with the possible exception of my miniature desk.  I can reach most of it by swiveling in my chair in front of my Art Table, but the supports for the tables get in the way of my knees.  Considering the open side is near the door, I may have to actually get up and drag my chair over to that side.  But, at least I have room to do that! 

I do have a lot of items on display.  Most of the shelves and the tops of mounted organizers hold nick-knacks,  teacups/saucers, my froggie & kitty collection (I love frogs and cats), and other items that piqued my interest.  Hubby can’t understand why I have to display so many items, but they do act as inspiration and make the studio truly mine.

It was amazing the stuff I found that I knew I had but could never put my hands on and the stuff I had and forgot about.  I still need to label a bunch of stuff and now that the organizer has arrived,

organizeeverything1_2198_3897837130 (isn’t it great?)

I have plenty of space for all my paper, whether it’s the scrapbook paper I use for backgrounds or all the paper collage sheets I’ve printed.

Maybe this will inspire someone to de-clutter their space.  Yes, it took me 5 days and is still a work-in-progress, but I have the feeling of accomplishing something.  Oh, and the key to such a monumental undertaking (remember, I cleaned out my dining room during the same time frame)?  I did what my hubby said to do……I ate the elephant one bite at a time.

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