Wednesday, November 30, 2011

To Sell or Not to Sell...

I often read at the blog of Rachelle Mee-Chapman, aka Magpie Girl and I had read her post addressing the "Rush" we often feel during the Christmas season. I left a comment at that post, but I also sent a private message expressing a few other concerns about gift giving and gift receiving during the holiday season. She was kind enough to let me know that she would be addressing some of them in a blog post and she did so in this blog post titled "Exchange"*.

I asked about what to do when one feels conflicted about "cashing in" on the holidays. These were my exact words:

"One of my big concerns about this time of year is about being an artist/crafter that sells through Etsy, but I’m just not comfortable with the concept of “cashing in on the holidays” and my Etsy shop is closed at this time because of those concerns. How can an artist that creates lovely and meaningful gifts find a way to sell that doesn’t feel like it’s “cashing in” on what is, for many, a sacred time of year???"

My Etsy shop has in fact been closed since February when I left for the Artful Journey Retreat and I didn't re-open my shop after I returned. I thought that it seemed silly to have a shop with barely a dozen items to sell. I hear often of the concept that a well stocked shop does better than a shop with only a few items to sell, but I've been reconsidering that idea because it's been holding me back...

However, as the holiday season drew nearer, I was still reluctant to open my shop and have it look as though I were "cashing in" on holiday sales. After a few conversations with my Life Coach Pete, I realized that both ideas were not working for me! We made a plan and I made a commitment that I would reopen my shop on a certain date, one that was an auspicious date according to Feng Shui principles, which I often follow whenever possible.

One of the things that Pete and I discussed was the idea that I can follow my values and principles**, not those of society at large. I can dictate when and how my Etsy shop will work in alignment with my personal vision and values. Sometimes, I forget that I am in charge! It's hard to remember to follow your own North Star when the winds and tides of larger forces are pulling you off course...

Another thing we discussed was the idea that I really do have something to offer to the world at large, something different, unique and special. I think this quote from a favorite dancer, Martha Graham, puts it best:

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others." 
- Martha Graham

I put my plan into action before I saw the response from Magpie Girl regarding my concerns about selling during the holidays, but when I read what she had to say, I am really glad that I put my concerns out there and with someone I knew that would give my concerns some thoughtful consideration.

I am not an overly religious person and choose to celebrate the Winter Solstice instead of Christmas. However, I was raised (somewhat!) as a Catholic and I understand that this time of year has a significant sacred meaning. Because of this knowledge/understanding, it's hard to watch what should be a sacred season and see it turn into nothing more than one big commercial for "gift giving" as though this is the ONLY time of year one can give gifts.

Magpie Girl's statement:

"You don’t have to be held hostage by the commercialism of our age"

is one that really sang to me. Her statement that it's okay to 'close shop during the holiday season if that is what feels right to you' is something I really appreciated as well.

And this statement:

"Whether you are the buyer or the seller, be mindful of the narrative you are telling yourself about these exchanges."

...reminds me (again!) that I am in charge and I can follow my own North Star. I can create a better 'story' about selling during the holiday season...

Small bags I've recently made to hold a new version of cards for reflection - I may have to make more with the "North Star" stamped upon it!

I'm beginning to craft a better story of how I can contribute to a more meaningful season by selling the goods I create that are in fact made with a great deal of care and thought to the small details. Many of the things I've created for friends are meaningful and meant to lift the spirits. And I like to think that I make toys for grown up children!

Mail art envelopes in process - the paper is designed by a dear friend. I'm hoping she will sell some of her designs for craft and scrapbook paper - they really are fantastic!

I am also interested in connection which is part of my love for Mail Art and giving gifts is also a way to connect with friends and loved ones, though I would like to see more people giving gifts of all kinds every day of the year...

Some pendants and altered buttons waiting to be used as embellishments in mixed media artwork

I feel strongly about encouraging creativity in others because I believe that everyone can be creative, though it may not always be linked to Art. One can be a creative problem solver, a creative cook, a creative organizer of the home or of special events. I want to contribute to people accessing their creativity by offering "creative supplies" to make mixed media or collage art with.

With these ideas firmly in mind I feel much better about re-opening my Creative Beast Etsy shop. It has been re-opened for a few days now and I added a few items for the holidays, such as some Christmas stockings that I had made a few years ago to sell at a craft show, which didn't happen (this was before Etsy!). I made quite a few stockings that were eventually given to friends but I still had a few left that I thought someone might like to buy to hang in their home. They are unique in the textiles and colors I used, having been inspired by my favorite ballet at this time of year "The Nutcracker" - I like to think of them as my "Nutcracker Suite Stockings"...

Pale gold, dark green and pink colors fit for a Sugar Plum Fairy ;)

I am not planning on doing any "marketing" for my shop at this time. I'm having Faith that the right people will find what they need from my shop and if they happen to find it in these next few weeks, that will be great. If I don't make a lot of sales during this "holiday shopping season", I'm okay with that. For me the important thing was to re-open my shop so I can be free to create special goods that will be listed as they are made...

A new card series meant for reflection are very nearly ready for selling to the public...

I keep this idea, told to me by my Wise Woman and dear friend Janet, firmly in mind:

"You may not have many followers*** or customers but they will be the RIGHT followers and customers for YOU"

As with so many other things, I know she is right about this and this idea makes me happy about offering my goods to sell =-)

* - Thanks to my blog buddy Kat of I Saw You Dancing who gave me a heads up on the post! And MANY thanks to Magpie Girl for addressing my concerns - I hope it helps others who might be feeling a similar conflict...
** - These posts made at the start of the 2011 cover just a few of my values and principles...
*** - she was speaking about my blog at the time, but this concept could be applied to Etsy shop customers too!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last Days of Art Every Day Month

I had hoped to do more art in the past week, but I didn't get to work on any pet projects, as I'd hoped to. I did manage to make a few little bits of art, in the form of more bottle cap embellishments...

Two of these had been started a few weeks ago which you can see in this post. These are the completed versions...

Image is from my vintage photo collection - I color copied the original and cut this little face with a circle punch

Pink button heart, polka dots, pink beads and a pearl accent with a sprinkle of fine glitter make up this embellishment

And I made one more, the woman with the bobbed hair cut...

This lovely lady is also from my vintage photo collection. She looks both sweet and sassy and she reminds me of a Flapper!

You might think I'd be tired of making these little works of art but they really are quite fun and sometimes a challenge considering I'm working with a very small 'canvas' of barely one inch in diameter. I'm not sure I'll ever tire of making these little works of art!

It's been a nice long Thanksgiving holiday weekend but I'm ready to get back to cleaning and clearing my humble home. I'll be posting my progress in the days and weeks to come, so be sure to stay tuned!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Grateful for...

...the many lessons being presented to me at this time in my life...
so many wonderful friends - blog buddies definitely included!
a funny, kind and supportive boyfriend...
a roof over my head...
food to eat every day...
the taste of delicious foods...
the smell of beautiful flowers...

a brain to think with...
a body to move with...
a heart to love with...
eyes to see...
ears to listen...

Yeah, when I think of gratitude, I just want to dance to this song!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We Learn as We Go - Part II

In the same week I was preparing for the boutique event, I received news that the gallery I had been volunteering to help out with* closed their doors and I learned this from the friend who introduced me to the managing couple. I did not learn it directly from the couple until I emailed them about other matters.

When I first began to meet with the creative couple to discuss the possibility of teaching at their gallery a few months ago, I learned a few things that made me wary of getting too financially involved since I expected to be paid for my time in teaching. However, I could see the possibilities of the space and wanted to help out. I offered to lend my administrative skills in exchange for some recycled garments made by the husband which are pretty cool garments for an artist to wear and luckily, I received my one-of-a-kind dress in time for my birthday!

Me in my fabulous dress photographed by my dear boyfriend - I chose the t-shirts and thread used, which could be considered making art for Art Every Day Month! ;)

Volunteering my time was beneficial for me and not just with a new dress. I got the opportunity to learn how to work with Microsoft 2007 programs and this was a big plus for me in terms of my administrative skills. In the course of working with this creative couple, I learned other lessons that I'll keep in mind as I continue on my path as an Artist. Here is what I learned:

Opening a Space With No Money, No Funding, No Business Plan
I learned early on that this couple had opened the gallery space with no money, funding or business plan in place. They did have someone work with them on creating a business plan, but they were scrambling so much to keep day-to-day operations going that they didn't have time to put the plan into action. Watching this process in action was eye-opening for me.

Lack of Vision or Focus
When the wife talked about conducting an online fundraiser to keep the space open, I worked with her to find out what they hoped the space would be and what the vision was. It was hard for her to focus on that vision when she was constantly looking for the next thing to bring in much needed money.

Because of my recent background with non-profit work, I was able to inform her that she needed a vision because her passion would inspire others to help them with their vision. I began a write-up for their campaign, but when they finalized it, the vision of what they wanted for their space got lost in rhetoric, along with my clear concise writing!

Technology is the Future
Though my previous day job was horrible, I've mentioned that there are some things I'm grateful for and one of them was having the opportunity to learn more on handling a computer and computer programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel. I also had the opportunity to check out blogs and I caught on very quickly that blogs and internet technology is the FUTURE and an amazing tool for artists, if wielded properly. It's a mistake to think otherwise and not take advantage of what can be done to reach so many people through the internet. As an example:

One day I asked the husband, who is the designer/creator of this duo, why he wasn't selling on Etsy. He designs great garments using old t-shirts and his designs are fabulous with a use of color that I admire. I think his designs would sell pretty quickly since recycled/up-cycled garments are pretty hot right now. His response to my question was that "It's too time-consuming". He said the same thing about a blog he has that he never uses.

This mind-set was baffling to me! I could only attribute it to the idea that perhaps a better handle on technology might be needed. I'm sure I don't have to tell many of you how a blog can be a great tool to let people (future customers!) take a look at your process and become interested in what you have to offer and the same goes for online listings whether you use Etsy, Big Cartel or any other online selling venue. And you don't have to leave the comfort of your home!!

I helped by creating an Excel spreadsheet for them to work with to help them figure out their finances. I helped the wife to find out what the vision of the gallery was. I helped by starting the write-up for their fund-raising pitch when money was running low...

I wanted to help because I saw the potential for the space, but you can only do so much. If people are not ready to be successful, there is not much help for that and a few friends I've spoken to about this situation have the view that this couple may not be ready for success.

The couple were grateful for my help and I'm sorry that the space had to close. However, I can say as of this writing that they have found another space nearby. Since I only volunteered few hours one day a week, I might continue to help them out with my administrative skills - getting some fabulous clothes in exchange for my skills is great, but if they chose not to continue with my services that will be fine too as it gives me more time for me to FOCUS on my plans for my future!

I have to say though, that an interesting thing did come up in the course of working with them:

One day while working, the wife asked if I'd ever considered being an "Artist's Manager" - she thought I'd be great at it! When I mentioned this idea to some friends they agreed enthusiastically and one of them also thought I'd be a great gallery owner/curator! After that, I started to look at the space and think about what I could do if I owned it and the ideas that began to come into my head were exciting!

I've thought of working in a gallery but hadn't thought of owning and curating one of my own, but why not?!? If an amazing opportunity presented itself, I wouldn't say no...

It's time for a future as bright as the blue sky! Photo by yours truly =-)

At least I can say that I wouldn't make the same mistakes and I'd certainly learn from my mistakes as I go - but don't we all learn as we go!

* - See #8, 9, 10 on my list

Monday, November 21, 2011

Updates on Art and Cleaning...

I'd like to start my updates by sending out some belated thanks to the many blog buddies and friends who sent wonderful wishes to me for my birthday! It was a great day with a fabulous dress that I'll share with you in tomorrow's post - it is a pretty cool dress!

I haven't really had a chance to make much art since the holiday boutique. It's been a hectic week since I started focusing on doing some more cleaning/clearing in my home. I had hoped to make some sales at the boutique not just to make money, but to clear out the many goods belonging to my grandmother that takes up space in my home:

My living room as I prepared boxes of goods to sell at the boutique - sadly, it looks like this a LOT!

As I packed the goods into my car for selling, I saw more space open up and I got excited thinking that I might be making some serious headway on the cleaning front!

The living room area after the goods were packed into my car for selling - look at the open space!

I'm sure you can imagine my disappointment when I returned with nearly as many boxes I had left with:

Boxes of goods and display items that were brought back...sigh!

I sorted through some of the goods and donated a few items that I didn't want to sell due to the weight and costs of shipping they would entail. That helped to make some room in my home and I remembered that I still had some goodies to pack for the giveaway winners. It was mostly paper goods since many of the winners were into mail art, but it helped to move out some extra supplies I wasn't using anymore and it gave me a chance for the one time I made some "art" in the week...Mail Art that is!

I still have one more packet of goods to mail off that I'll be working on this week and I'm determined to make time for making Art. I know it will be a great break to all the cleaning I've still got to do.

In the meantime I hope you check back in tomorrow and not just to see me in my fabulous birthday dress! I've got another post on lessons I'm learning as I continue on my path of becoming a self-sustaining self-employed Artist, so stay tuned!

Friday, November 18, 2011

We Learn as We Go...

Sunday was the day of the holiday boutique where I went to try my hand at selling in a public venue and it was quite an experience...

My table of vintage goods...and a few handmade ones too!

I had some hopes that I might make some money at this event. Sadly, I did not make as much as I'd hoped for...

My grandmother's coat and her I know where my hat-wearing gene comes from!

I can say that I learned a few things at this event and here is what I learned:

Know Your Target Audience:
I began to see pretty early on that selling vintage goods was not the best idea for this particular crowd. It was mostly older women looking for gifts for their grandchildren. If I had worked on making some dolls or soft toys, I have no doubt they would have sold immediately since there was a vendor selling soft toys, though they were factory made...

Grandma Betty's tea cups, red glass, carving set and cook books...

I also began to see that many of my handmade goods, such as my hand-bound art books and affirmation cards, was not something this crowd was really interested in and believe me, I made an attempt to sell my affirmation cards which was met with "I'm looking for a gift nicer than that". I'd had an email list prepared for sign-ups, but I could see that it might not be necessary, but at least I was prepared with a sign-up list!

The Entrance Fee Theory:
There is a theory that the amount you pay for your table at a craft fair/event will dictate what you make at the end of the day. I think they might be right on this one, but it's still early to tell. I got a table for $25 and I will make just over $80 after the organization takes their commission of 20% for their fundraiser. I'm not sure if that is a good ratio or not, but I'm happy to have made SOME pocket change!

On Doing it Alone:
I went to this event by myself and loaded everything into my car myself. I called my dear boyfriend during the day to check in and see if I might need his help to reload at the end of the day, especially since we had to be out in exactly one hour! A friend who participated in this event offered to help me but I only asked her to help me with one of the boxes to get a start on the reloading since I had to figure out how to configure it all back into my car and really, I was the only person who could do that knowing my car and its dimensions...I thought of taking a picture of my crammed little car but I was too tired!

Fragile yet heavy glass that had to be re-packed to head home...

If I was selling only handmade goods, which are pretty small and lightweight, this would not be a big deal, but selling the vintage items, which were mostly fragile and had to be repacked to avoid damage, was tiring and time-consuming and eventually made my lower back ache for the rest of the evening! Though I did have my dear boyfriend to help me unload it all when I got home, I'll definitely think twice before selling vintage goods again!
***   ***   ***

In the end, I can say that it was a fun day since my friend had a table next to mine and we were at an event that was helping out our other friends, what with the event being a fundraiser for their charity organization. It gave me a chance to brush up on some rusty retail skills and I got to engage with lots of people, something I enjoy doing. I had a story about my grandmother's things and the crafty skills she bestowed on me and many people enjoyed that.

Knowing what I know, I just might do this event again, but I'll be sure to have lots of soft toys with me! ;)

Who could resist a soft bunny like this?!?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

46 Things...

In celebration of my birthday today, I'd thought I'd share a list of 46 things about me you may or may not know...

1 - I was born at 5:35am - I think this is why I'm a morning person
2 - I was born in the year of the Snake in Chinese Astrology, specifically a "wood" snake for the year I was born in
3 - I don't have a middle name
4 - I love that I share a birthday with Martin Scorsese!
5 - I love dahlias, peonies and blush pink roses, though other colors of rose are always welcome...

6 - I loved Pink accented with Red as a child
7 - I loved Rose Pink as a teenager
8 - I loved Royal Blue in my twenties
9 - I began to love the colors of Burgundy and Wine in my thirties
10 - I found myself attracted to deep shades of Crimson Red in my forties, which is somewhat related to Burgundy and a very Scorpio color
11 - I love looking at color spectrum's and tend to arrange my clothes that way
12 - I love Pink and Orange together
13 - My favorite fast food place is Mc Donalds, hands down! It's all about the fries...

14 - I like Jack in the Box for the breakfast croissant sandwich
15 - I like Taco Bell for the seasonings they use in the beef tacos and nachos but I wouldn't say it's representative of real Mexican food! ;)
16 - I can't have a hamburger without french fries
17 - I can't have pizza without a soda...that applies to hamburgers too!
18 - I can't watch a movie without popcorn
19 - I can't have popcorn without butter (but I go without when at the movies with my dear boyfriend who doesn't like movie butter)
20 - My favorite letter of the alphabet is "A"
21 - My favorite number is 18
22 - I like using pages from math, physics and chemistry books because the symbols fascinate me
23 - I like symbols in general
24 - I loved Greek mythology as a girl
25 - My favorite book series as a girl was "Little House on the Prairie" by Laura Ingalls Wilder
26 - My favorite stage play for the language and thinking is "Inherit the Wind"
27 - I love cashmere sweaters
28 - I prefer skirts to pants
29 - There was a period of time I didn't own a pair of jeans, nearly two years while studying Fashion Design actually
30 - I secretly studied Pattern Drafting to learn to make better costumes for myself, not for Fashion Design! I think it paid off...

31 - I like being corseted for the Renaissance Faire and would love trying out a Victorian corset one day
32 - My favorite period in Fashion History is the 1920's for men and women
33 - I've suffered from Depression in my life
34 - I've taken medication for my depression and I've seen a therapist - doing both works wonders!
35 - I think medication is often needed for severe depression, but it should be supervised with therapy
36 - I think Depression is a normal part of Life, just like Anger and I think both need more public acknowledgment, instead of being hidden away
37 - I champion Anger as a motivating force for change when properly applied
38 - I have inherited many artistic talents from my family: sewing and knitting from my grandmother, photography from my mother, musicality from my father and storytelling from my grandfather
39 - I can not imagine a life without these skills
40 - I'm glad to have the friends that I do - they are all wildly creative in one way or another!
41 - I'm lucky to have my Dear Boyfriend - he is funny, sweet and supportive
42 - My Wise Woman has been one of my biggest supporters, as well as my Life Coach Pete - I'm SO grateful they are in my life
43 - I look forward to turning 50, though I still have four more years to go for that!
44 - I am SO GRATEFUL to know how to read - it means I will always be learning
45 - I love books even if I do sometimes gut them for their paper to make artwork!
46 - I believe that Creativity is EVERYWHERE, not just in Art and more people need to see that so they can tap into their own Creativity =-)

Thanks for stopping by my blog to read here - I hope you enjoyed my list! Now I'm off to celebrate this day with my Dear Boyfriend - WOO HOO!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Quick Post of Quick Updates

It's been one crazy week preparing for the holiday boutique but I did it and it was quite an experience! I'll share more about it soon...

My table for the holiday boutique focused on selling vintage goods - more about this to come!

In the hustle and bustle of preparing for the boutique, I actually managed to do some 'art' during the week as I attempt to participate in Art Every Day Month. Here are the highlights:

Stitching signatures for some handmade books

Playing with inks and vintage jewelry findings

Making more bottle cap embellishments

And a tiny bit of cleaning was accomplished while preparing for the holiday boutique! For quite some time now, I've had bags of paper scraps lying near my dining table waiting to be tossed into the recycle bin...

Well, I finally cleaned out those bags! I also have a plan to keep the recycling scrap bags smaller so it doesn't get out of hand...

And I'll be cleaning out quite a lot more this week and in the weeks to come. In fact I'm off to donate some goods to a local charity now, after being inspired by this fabulous gal! I love that her encouragement for giving comes before the Thanksgiving holiday that is on the horizon. 

Giving away goods is a great way to realize the abundance that is already in your life and that is always a good feeling =-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Workshop with Orly Avineri - "Make Do"

After many months, I attended a great workshop lead by the fabulous Orly Avineri and it was called "Make Do"...

The basis of this workshop was the concept that we often have TOO MUCH to work with and choose from, which can actually hamper the creative process. I totally get this concept as I've been cleaning and clearing the abundance of materials and supplies I've been accumulating for the many, many years I've been a Creative Beast. I was ready to go minimal with my art journal!

My art journal, small set of color pencils, set of watercolors and my fine point marker pens

Orly asked us to bring only three colorants and one had to be wet, like acrylics or watercolors. I realized when I looked at this request that I do have quite a lot of colorants and some of them I really don't use often, like sets of chalk pencils and oil pastels...

Maybe I should learn how to use these colorants so I can use them more often..??

As I thought about the three colorants I wanted to bring, I realized which ones I really love to work with the most: my color pencils, my markers and my watercolors...

What a layout! Are you feelin' the LOVE I have for these colorants?!!

I was so happy to be able to pack all I needed into one bag! Though I must confess that I left my VERY FAVORITE color pencils (see above!) in the car and elected to use my smaller set of pencils for these reasons: my regular pencils have been getting a lot of play in the past few weeks with this project, and it saved me room in my bag!

In the workshop, Orly spoke about how having so much can often block the creative process and I agree. I think that learning RESOURCEFULNESS can be key in learning creativity and resourcefulness can be used anywhere at Creativity!

Orly had prepped a few bags of goods for us to pick from, without looking! Then we discussed the items we had and figured out how we would work with the items. We did each get a postal stamp and a bit of paper that we could use or not in our journal spread. Orly was also kind enough to loan us the use of her Hebrew lettering stencil and I was thrilled to be able to incorporate it into my first journal spread

Some of the letters in the stencil formed the word in the lower right corner page - I'm sure that's not an actual Hebrew word, though...

One of my classmates informed me that the fabric backing on the colorful paper could be removed - I was really excited about that and proceeded to be resourceful with the materials I had at hand! The fabric is at the left...

A closer look at the papers in the upper right corner - one is folded for a reveal...

It was a page from a book on learning Hebrew! I love that I picked it without looking...

As always, there was a tasty lunch made for us by Orly - she is really quite the hostess!

Then we commenced to making our second journal spread using items that were picked for us by our class mates. This was the object I chose to work with...

A bit of wood from a carved fan - this object launched my second journal spread...

Orly asked us where these objects took us and what kind of story we could create from that one object. My object, a piece from a fan, made me think about the South, before the Civil War, and the ladies who used such fans. I thought of one kind of story to create, but my knowledge of that period in American History made my story go in a different direction. Here is the story I created...

Second journal spread in process...

You can learn about "Juneteenth" here or here...

Detail shot of the right-hand page - it took quite awhile to write those two words over and over and over...

Detail shot of left-hand page

I love being in Orly's workshops - each one is unique and there is always something new that I learn or come away with. I'm also often surprised by what I create in her workshops. The second spread began with one idea in mind but it went in a different direction. Despite the lightness of colors I used, the content is actually a bit dark.

Being limited to using what I brought with me was a slight challenge, but a great learning experience. It also gave me the opportunity to learn just what my favorite supplies are, which will help me as I continue with cleaning and clearing my space...And the supplies I won't be keeping might end up in a giveaway!

If you're in the Los Angeles or San Diego areas, I highly recommend taking one of Orly Avineri's workshops. She is a great instructor and wonderful hostess and her classes are always filled with great folks at all levels of learning. Check out her offerings HERE - she teaches at other venues too!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Giveaway Winner and Some Updates...

Today is the day I announce the winner of the Spooky Giveaway!

As you all know, I get out the special bowl to draw a name:

Then I put the names into the bowl:

And I draw a name...

However, today I've decided that everyone who left a comment wins the Spooky Giveaway! Each commenter was interested in a different craft and since the list was small, I'm going to put together goodies for each commenter for this giveaway - congratulations everyone!

Please be sure to send me an e-mail with your mailing address so I know where to send your goodies. I'll be working on putting together goods for each of you this week and sending off packages by next week. WOO HOO! Thank you all for entering!

***   ***   ***
I've been busy this past week as I prepare for the holiday boutique taking place on Sunday, as well as squeezing in a bit of cleaning and clearing. On the cleaning front, I've been condensing some of my grandmother's things into fewer boxes where possible...

Two of those large boxes have been housing my shipping supplies for Grandma Betty's Legacy, but I've managed to organize ALL my shipping supplies into one box for easy access. YAY for easy access which makes shipping flow much faster now!

All shipping labels, thank you cards, business cards, tape, bubble wrap and filler paper in ONE box - YAY!

I've been trying to find a way to participate in Art Every Day Month, which I've actually managed to do. Here is the round-up of what I've done since last week:

My Weekly Round-up of Art Projects!

More faces I've colored for the project; I was finished with them by Tuesday...

Tuesday - Coloring Faces Swap Project

Wednesday - Cutting up T-shirts for scarves
I may not have a lot of recycled t-shirt scarves for the boutique, but I'm working through my collection of t-shirts I've bought for this use, which will make room for other projects in the future =-)

Thursday - Rubber stamping fabric to make small bags
I've had a project on the sidelines for a few months now and I'm starting to work on it for the boutique. A new set of small cards made from scans of pages from my small art journal. I rubber stamped onto muslin scraps that came from my grandmother's sewing room, which also uses up materials to make room for future projects. Here is a shot of the small cards after cutting them from the print-outs I made a few months ago (while still at the office!)...

Friday and Saturday - Art journaling with and for Orly Avineri
I attended Orly's workshop on Saturday "Make Do" and it was great fun as always! I'll share more pictures of what I created later this week.

I had asked to be part of a round robin journal Orly started and I had not worked on my spread all summer though I knew the theme of it. I finally worked on it Friday but forgot to take a picture of it!! DOH!

Sunday - working on "The Basics" Affirmation Cards
A completed set of cards as first seen here on my blog...

I've mentioned the first set of affirmation cards I've created in this blog post and I'm working on making a few of these for the boutique as well as the new cards. Sometime last year, I did organize this process into one storage bin to keep everything I use to make these cards in one place that could be easily transported, if necessary. This is what it looks like:

I love having a space for blank cards, made cards and the markers used to make them - so handy and helpful!

It feels great to get organized, even if it is slow going, but each little step inspires me to do more. Maybe I'll get my humble home tidy enough for a small holiday party this year! After all, anything is POSSIBLE! =-)