Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Submitting Work for Exhibit...

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
It seems I have been remiss in sharing some big projects I have been working on lately, but I hope to remedy this with my blog posts for this week. Firstly, there are some recycled art books I have completed and submitted for possible exhibit...

Submitting My Art Work
For those of you that have been reading this blog for some time, you might remember a special recycled art book I created as a donation piece that was auctioned on behalf of City Hearts, a non-profit I have worked with during and after my last job. I really enjoyed creating that book and I began to make a few others, but eventually I stalled on completing them.

Luckily, I was inspired to complete two of my stalled books due to a posting in a local Yahoo group looking for artist submissions to be exhibited at a local eco-festival that will take place later in May...

handmade books
One of my art books in process of being decorated - this book came together pretty quickly

 The festival is called WorldFest Earth Day and it seems that this is the first year they are asking for artwork to exhibit. I have submitted my art books under the category of "sustainability" after reading through all the categories available. The sustainability category includes recycling and ecology and I think my art books represent that.

Playing With Layouts of Elements
Interestingly enough, the two books I completed were already bound together, they only needed some decoration to be completed as art books. One of them came together fairly quickly, which you can see in the first image above. The second book took a little longer to come together as you will see in the following images:

Elements are placed around the cover as I try to choose only ONE configuration - this is Version #1

Version #2

handmade books
Version #3

 Version #4

art books
Version #5

I had three elements to assemble as decoration for the book cover and this was for each book. The first book was easy to decide upon as the small red corners covering the strip of vintage accounting ledger paper against the spine edge of the book looked right and a little gold paint stenciled onto the cover added the right touch. This second book had three paper ephemera elements that could be configured in a number of ways and many of them looked good - it was hard to decide on a configuration but I eventually did choose...

Then I had to photograph the completed books to submit them!

My recycled art books have been submitted for entry to the WorldFest Earth Day Art Exhibit!

Final Details
I have been in contact with the artistic director for this event to get as much information I could prior to submitting my work. I have submitted work for exhibit before but since this is more of an ecological organization, instead of an art organization, they had few of the usual guidelines for submitting my work. I did title these art books, which is not something I do often with my work, but the titles came to me and they seemed fitting...

book binding
"Gilded Accounts" recycled and re-purposed art book

book binding
"Vintage Baby" recycled and re-purposed art book

I also wrote up an artist statement for these entries, which I don't do very often for most of my work. Here is the statement I submitted with my art books:

"As a book lover, artist and book binder, I love to create books using old or worn materials. I also enjoy breathing life into old books by altering them or turning them into art journals. "Gilded Accounts" and "Vintage Baby" are created with the purpose of recycling the pages of old math and physics books, alongside sheets of vintage sheet music and plain, lined or graph paper to create a unique book that is meant to be used, handled and lovingly worn by the owner of the book.

The blank, lined and graph paper used for many of the book pages are meant to be used for "field notes" or for journaling, whether it is written journaling or art journaling. The paper ephemera that make up the remaining pages of the book can also be used for journaling, but they also provide the owner with visually interesting or inspiring material to look at or decipher, much like a visual puzzle or toy. These pages are also meant to be used for written or artful work.
Each book recycles various elements and ephemera giving new life to the original materials. Each book is a unique, one-of-kind, hand-bound volume that can not be recreated, thus making it an original work of art."

art books

These books will be listed in my Etsy shop if they are not accepted into the art exhibit*. However, if they are accepted, I will have the option to sell them at the event!

I did not realize that selling them through the exhibit was an option until I read the details on the actual WorldFest website - the information from the Yahoo listing only mentioned the availability of vendor spaces which are far too expensive for me at this time.

My primary goal in getting into this exhibit is to gain some visibility for my work, but if I can make a sale of my work, I will be happy with that!

Here's hoping one of my books makes it into the exhibit - I'll be sure to keep you all posted so stay tuned!

* - I should know by May 17th if my books have been accepted =-)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How Do YOU See Yourself??

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
I want to share something that had me thinking a lot...

Face Value
Some of you might remember the fascinating photography project I participated in last summer, called Face Value: Mirror Portraits by Juan Luis Garcia. I have been watching the progress of Juan's project through his Facebook page of the same name.

Last week Juan posted a video that is highly connected with his concept of his photography project, but this video is created by Dove, purveyors of soap and skin care for (mainly) women. I saw this same video linked at the blog of my blog buddy Kat from I Saw You Dancing and I knew it was a sign that this message needs to get out there...

Juan's project does ask the question 'what do we see when we look into the mirror' and his intimate photography session poses many other thought-provoking questions throughout the photo session. One of the questions I received during our photography shoot was about lipstick and my feeling about wearing it. I had a story I shared with him, that I will share at the end of this post.

Dove 'Real Beauty Sketches' Short Film
Last week, Juan posted this video made by Dove about a similar project that involves portraits, but they are drawn portraits and they are drawn two times, each time under different circumstances. This project uses women for the portrait subjects and it is a fascinating process. Please watch this video to see what I mean, and we'll talk more about it:

What do YOU See in The Mirror?
This video is SO poignant because it holds the truth that we as women are often our own worst enemies for so many reasons, for so many arenas. We are so hard on ourselves and we don't need to be, but I have always wondered, "Why am I so hard on myself?"

When I see/hear my friends being hard on themselves, I remind them of how amazing they are, as I'm sure you do when your friends go to that place, yet, we have such trouble doing this for ourselves...and we shouldn't.

We are all on the path of Life and we all have our struggles, as well having our joys (which makes Life more bearable!) so why we do make our lives harder than they need to be by being so hard on ourselves?

One thing that helps me to remind myself of my fabulous-ness is my creativity. I truly feel that each thing I create really helps me with my self-worth and my self-value, whether it's binding a book, making an art journal page, sewing a skirt or creating a special gift for a friend.

I will admit that as I get older it's not always easy to see the changes that are taking shape in my face and my body, yet I try to remember that it is part of Life, this aging, and I try to accept it as gracefully as I can...

I 'think' I look old in this picture, but I know my playful personality is shining through and that is a good 'youth serum' =-)

It is not always easy to retain a strong hold on your self-worth in a culture that holds beauty standards that are hard for many of us to achieve. I certainly can't do anything about the fact that:
  • I am a Hispanic with dark skin with dark hair to match
  • I am prone to moles - its hereditary!
  • I am short
  • I have slim hips with large breasts and no waist that makes me look like a 'sausage with boobs' ;)
But I do have:
  • Very capable hands that can sew a lovely garment, bake a quiche and give a firm handshake
  • I have a keenly inquisitive mind that loves information of all kinds!
  • A whimsical sense of humor that loves to laugh and make others laugh in turn

I urge you to make a list of your admirable qualities and your capabilities TODAY, as a reminder of just how fabulous you really are, regardless of the beauty standards going on in our world today. I want you to make your list because it is WHAT WE DO and HOW WE INTERACT in the world that truly makes us all beautiful, not just what we look like as the video above so aptly shows us.

Lipstick: To Wear or Not

Me, wearing lipstick for some self-portraits I felt inspired to create while playing with this colorful yarn

So, now that you have read thorough my blog post, here is my story about lipstick and my feelings about it...

Back in my youth (late teens, early twenties), I was not very keen on wearing lipstick. It was fun to have the color on my lips, but I never really liked the feel of lipstick and it would always fade as the day wore on, especially after eating a meal. For me, I could take it or leave it.

At that time, I had a boyfriend who had different feelings about lipstick - he insisted I wear it every time we went out and he would literally say to me "Where are your lips?" if did not have any lipstick on at all.

Of course I always thought, "Last time I checked, my lips were still on my face!" ;)

I shared a story with Juan Luis about how this boyfriend actually sulked one day he picked me up because I wasn't wearing lipstick...true story!

Needless to say, this fellow did not last long in my life...it turned out he had some old fashioned ideas about how women should look and he actually told me:

"I don't care what she does, but I want my woman to look great when she greets me at the door"

I said:
"So, it's okay if the house is a mess, the kids are screaming and there is no dinner on the table, as long as she looks great when you get home?!?"

That is exactly what he meant and what he wanted...true story!

This is not a mold I would easily fit into, so this fellow was eventually given his walking papers, but my personal debate on wearing lipstick is still in flux. My own dear boyfriend is not keen on the texture of kissing lipstick, so I keep it to a minimum around him and I am okay with that, because I know I don't need lipstick but I do like wearing it from time to time...

Besides, I think a smiling face is the best beauty enhancement, with or without lipstick!

Thank you for stopping by my blog and for reading. There is more goodness coming so be sure to stay tuned!

Many thanks to Juan Luis Garcia for my Face Value portrait and thanks to both Juan Luis and Kat for linking to this amazing short film; please share it with the fabulous women in your life and remember to embrace the beautiful being that you are!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In Search of Opportunities - Crafted Port of LA

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I hope you all enjoyed a fun and creative filled weekend. I began my weekend on an excursion to check out a potential space for selling my creative goods...

Crafted Port of LA
For those of you NOT in the Los Angeles area, there is a space that opened up last summer in July and I've been hearing about it from a few creative buddies. It's called Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles (or Crafted Port LA) and its located near the Long Beach Port, but really in the city of San Pedro.

The logo on the back entrance...

Some of you may remember Kristen, the wonderful journal maker who made my lovely end-of-year journal. We have had a few meet-ups since she made my end-of-year journal and it was Kristen who suggested we make a trip to see Crafted Port LA...and she made sure to mention that the food truck would be The Reuben Truck! How Kristen knew I love a good pastrami sandwich, I'll never know... ;)

This photo shows maybe 1/3 of the space available, and its filled with creative artisans!

Crafted Port LA is run in what once was a warehouse for the ports of Long Beach, so it is a BIG space and there is another building on the property, that the folks running Crafted have big plans for. It felt quite spacious as we walked in and there are wonderful large paper cranes hanging at the front and back entrances...

Beautiful and creative paper cranes decorating the space...

Crafted Port LA is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only. We drove out on a Friday and it was rather quiet, but we knew it was due to people who were working, as many of the vendors we met with informed us. There is lots of traffic on Saturdays and Sundays though, and many of the vendors were enthusiastic about the space when we talked with them. There were a few that had actually EXPANDED their space since joining Crafted, which sounded like a good sign.

A Fellow Creative Entrepreneur
While walking around and 'investigating the premises', I ran into a knitting acquaintance who has a space at Crafted!

"KIDTYME" at Crafted Port LA

Her name is Michelle and her craft business is called "KIDTYME". She sells bibs, burp blankets, 'loveys' and a really fun toy she calls "I-Spy Bags". Her space at Crafted looked so fun and colorful...

Bibs, burp blankets, 'loveys' and cute hair adornments for little girls...

Michelle also has an Etsy shop; we had talked about her opening an Etsy shop so I was excited to hear that she had finally done it! 

I-Spy bags that entertain children - I love that it is an interactive toy!

I loved running into Michelle and I loved that she was sharing her business plans with me. As I continue on my path to create a self-sustaining, self-employed creative career, I don't have very many people I can turn to and share about my struggles on this path, so it was refreshing to listen to Michelle talk about what she is up to and to share our stories.

I can say the same for Kristen - it was great to be on the road with a fellow entrepreneur and talk about struggles with pricing our creative goods or trouble-shoot how to deal with difficult online customers.

I have REALLY been feeling the need for a community of creative entrepreneurs so I was thrilled when Kristen suggested the field trip to look at vendor space and doubly thrilled when I ran into Michelle, especially when she said she lives nearby!

Could it be the Universe is leading me to the community I need??!?

The Nitty-Gritty of Crafted Port LA
Many of the vendors we saw were happy to speak with us about their experience being a vendor at Crafted Port LA and they were all positive and enthusiastic. I have to admit that the cost of space is a bit high for me at this time...but I may have some creative solutions for sharing the space with some fellow creatives, and it could allow us to share the responsibility of being on-site during the weekends because being on-site for an entire weekend could be a bit rough!

The only other difficulty I anticipate is the distance. It is nearly 40 miles one-way to get to Crafted Port LA and driving this distance for three days in a row might not be the best thing for my car that now has over 110,000 miles on it. The good part is I would be greeted by the many happy faces that work at and for Crafted Port LA...

Getting some water before heading home - I was sent off with a smile!

If you happen to be visiting the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend checking out Crafted Port of LA during your time here. There are many wonderful artisans from jewelry to furniture to food. There are many food trucks on Saturdays and Sunday and they plan many fun activities for everyone to enjoy.

In Other News
I had posted about my creative workshop for book binding a 2-in-1 Book, but sadly, no one responded to this workshop. I will be hosting one more workshop from my home in May, then taking a hiatus to participate in some vendor events to gain some visibility for my goods and get an audience for my workshops...

However, I am seriously considering creating some online workshops, especially since I do have some overseas readers that are unable to attend my in-person workshops. If you have an idea for a workshop based on one of my projects that you have seen on my blog, let me know! In the meantime, I have one or two ideas for online workshops that have been brewing for awhile...

By the way: Kristen also posted about our field trip to Crafted Port LA and she took way more pictures than I did! She also shared more information about Crafted Port LA in her blog post - check out her post HERE and say hello!

I have other fun things to share so be sure to stay tuned for my next blog post!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Exciting Event to Share - My First Creative Party Event!

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I am so excited to share some highlights of my first workshop party event I facilitated last weekend, but first let me share how it came about...

One Thing Leads to Another
I wrote about the creative workshop I hosted in my home last month and the fun everyone had in making their French Fold books and uncovering personal values to write on the 'pages' of their books. It seems one of the participants loved the workshop so much, she thought of doing it with some friends to celebrate her birthday...

My student creating the collage base for her French Fold book - she thought it would be great for a party...

A few weeks later, I received an email from this student with a request to facilitate my workshop for her birthday celebration! I was very excited to be asked and we began to negotiate how this would be conducted, not to mention how I would be compensated for this work.

Putting an Event Together
I put together a package plan with different rates depending upon the size of the party she would be hosting. I included a discount if the hostess wanted to provide all supplies for this activity; a discount is always welcome to the event host/hostess and leaving my materials and supplies at home is a break for me as well!

The hostess let me know how many attendees she would have and she even met with me to go over the papers she had to insure she enough to go around, which she did.

Let the Rumpus Begin!
The hostess had a larger party than expected, but it was a group of great people, which included children...and men who got into the act of making a French Fold book!

Paper was flying:

Collages began to come together:

From one of the male attendees - gotta love the rabbit in the corner of the paper!

"Joy" and "family" are coming through in this collage

Values were discovered through sharing happy memories and stories; the values were then written in the books that took form:

It was fun to watch all the party participants get into the fun playfulness of making a collage and watching them grasp how the book comes together with only one cut in the paper and the folding!

Afterward, many of the participants came to tell me how much fun they had and how much they enjoyed the process of creating something that had so much meaning for them. I loved hearing that my project was providing this joyful empowerment!

The host and hostess were really happy I came out to create this event for the birthday celebration and I know that many of their friends will remember this celebration for a long time to come, especially since they all had a book to honor their personal values...

I really love combining creativity with personal growth and I plan to create more projects in the future to teach as workshops...or party events!

Thanks for reading and be sure to stay tuned for more creative goodness next week!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Exciting Events to Share...

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
The past weekend was packed full with some exciting events and I'm dying to share them with you - participating in the Los Angeles Yarn Crawl and facilitating my first creative workshop party event! Both events were a lot of fun and filled with lots of stories to share. Today I will share the fun of the Yarn Crawl and I will share about the party event in my next post...

I am excited to share my yarn crawl adventure with you because I got to meet a personal knitting hero on this outing!

Yarn Crawling
This is the second year of the Los Angeles Yarn Crawl, where many yarn shops participate with special trunk shows, giveaways and raffles. You can get a passport from any participating shop and if you get a stamp from EVERY STORE that is participating, you turn in the passport to enter the big drawing...now, I have no idea what the big drawing was, since I am on a personal challenge to "Buy No New Art Supplies" and I have extended this to include yarn and fabrics, in an effort to use up my abundant supplies! However, part of the fun of the crawl is to visit stores you normally don't patronize and you also see many fellow knitters in the community and view their handiwork if they are wearing it...and many knitters were wearing lovely shawls and scarves to admire and gush over!

Since I was not planning on visiting every shop on the itinerary, I did not bother to get a passport, but the fellow knitter who invited me to join her had one and we used it to create a 'plan of attack', with our biggest day on Friday...

On The Road...Without a Map!
So...many of you know I do not have internet at home. My fellow knitter called me in the morning to get help finding computer directions for the region we were going to, (which later turned out to be farther than we thought!) and just when she was about print some directions out, her computer crashed!!

I brought along my old Thomas Guide and we made a stop at a local coffee place to use the Wi-Fi with my i-Pad to get some basic directions and then we were on the road...to Claremont, CA, over 35 miles from our starting point and we were heading to a region that had not existed at the time of my Thomas Guide which is dated 1991!

oops... ;)

Needless to say, we had a few fits and starts when we arrived to the area of Claremont but we found our first destination: Bourgee Boutique...

This was a sweet little shop run by a kind and generous mother and daughter team. They were so generous they gave me and my friend a ball of yarn each! I also bought some cute knitting tools - butterfly stitch markers:

Though I can not buy yarn, I can certainly accept a gift of yarn if one if feeling generous! This yarn is a rich chocolate brown that would make some great doll hair...or I might mix it with other brown yarns to make a fun pair of playful textured mitts.

Our next stop was Colors 91711...

 The owner of Colors 91711 greeting all the knitters just outside of her shop

This turned out to be my favorite shop due to the colorful yarns and the inspiring environment of the shop:

...not to mention the welcome mat at the front door:

Isn't he the cutest door mat ever?!?

Then we went to the last knitting shop for the city of Claremont called Phebie's NeedleArt...

The stairs to get to Phebie's were colorfully yarn-bombed:

...with a colorful knitted decoration draped at the top of the stairs:

Little did I know that my knitting hero was sitting just inside the shop:

And who IS my knitting hero, you might be asking??

I turned into a full-fledged, geeky, gushing fan, when I realized that I was in the presence of Maggie!

I bought her book when I began to start knitting in a serious way and I found Maggie's book to be VERY helpful. Her style and sense of humor really come through in her book and I do love humor! I told Maggie how much I loved her book and how much I loved her sense of humor in writing it. I also thanked her for all the work she has done writing her books because her books have helped many knitters, such as myself.

Maggie Righetti was kind, warm and of course funny! She allowed me to take photos with her and we did the same for my knitting buddy, who bought Maggie's book and got it signed while we were at the shop.

Laughing with Maggie - of course the image is a bit blurry from laughing so much!

I wish I had thought to check for author book signings - I would have brought my book to have Maggie sign it. Now I know to be better prepared for next year...and I will definitely be participating in the Yarn Crawl next year!

Wrapping It Up
All in all, my friend and I visited 8 shops that day and I had not visited at least 6 of them before, despite the fact that 3 were in the valley where I live! One of them even had a free demo of Kumihimo braiding, which was pretty easy to learn...

Of course, now this means I have a new creative activity to engage in! Luckily this new activity will help me work through my yarns and embroidery threads ;)

I had a lot of fun being with a fellow knitter and getting to know her better, as well as seeing many colorful yarn shops I had never seen before. I am glad to be a knitter and to have met so many enthusiastic knitters of many levels during this event - it is a great creative community to be part of!

I will be sharing the excitement of facilitating my first creative party event in my next post so be sure to stay tuned!

PS: I have a book binding workshop I'll be teaching on Sunday from my home; Contact me if you want to join the fun!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Update: My "No New Art Supplies" Challenge

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I thought it might time for an update on my "Buy No New Art Supplies" challenge I have taken on for myself this year, especially since I wound up buying something: PAPER...

However, this paper was not bought for my personal use or amusement, which is really the main issue for my challenge. I bought this paper to use for more book binding projects, as I was running out of plain copy paper to make them, as I mentioned in this post...

Scrapbook paper cut into covers for stab stitch books to be made...

I began to cut more stab stitch book covers from scrapbook/card stock paper in my current stash, in an effort to begin using up what I have, but since I realized I was running out of plain copy paper to use for the pages, I have been a little stymied about how to make more books without any plain copy paper. I do have quite a lot of this style of lined paper, which is usually used in the classroom, considering the dashed lines between the solid lines...

This paper is generally used for my small books due to the hole punching in the margin

Regarding my challenge, I have decided it will be okay to buy paper supplies for my BOOK MAKING, since I am selling my books in my Etsy shop, thus turning my abundant supplies into profits, which I need...though my intention was to purchase a ream of PLAIN copy paper!

However, when I discovered this ream of lined paper in a local thrift store, I was smitten, especially since this paper is NOT hole-punched, AND it is inked in shades of blue, with no red margin lines...

Cool, calm blue lines and no hole-punched margins - this paper will be great for book pages!

...And did I mention that this ream of paper cost me all of .50¢??


(is it fair to say I would have been a FOOL to not bring home this wonderful deal??!?)

I was quite fascinated by the fact that this paper is quite unlike any stationary office paper I have seen before - have any of you encountered paper like this? I'm curious to know if it is meant for any special use...

In the meantime, my dear boyfriend purchased a ream of regular copy paper for me to use for my book making which I've already begun to use...and I'm already running out!

So, I have begin to use some other paper in my stash that was nearly forgotten about - lined newsprint paper:

Inner front cover from a new hand-bound journal - it is listed as a 'gratitude journal'

I have a ream or two of this fun lined paper that is usually found in the elementary classroom. I have used it in the gratitude journal I made this year and I have to say that I love the texture of this paper - writing on it is a dream...

The cover of one of my new 'gratitude journals', listed in my Etsy shop along with this journal

I have begun to use this paper in some 6"x6" stab stitch books that I have listed as 'gratitude journals' in my Etsy shop. There are only 3 books available this week and I have a few other stab stitch books in large and small sizes with plain copy paper for the pages.

I do like a square-shape book and I love the gratitude journal I made for myself, so I may begin to create a series of 'gratitude journals' to sell in my Etsy shop. I truly enjoy this practice of gratitude before going to sleep and I think you would too!

I do have more book ideas in the works, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Identity Crisis and Taking Imperfect Steps...

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
I have been busy with many things lately and one of them has been dealing with an "identity crisis"!

Or maybe I should say, grappling with my idea of who I am and what I am doing in the face of 'experts' proclaiming the 'right' way to share this...

I am happy creating and even happier when I can wear my creations, like the scarf and mitts I am wearing in this picture - I look pretty happy wearing my creativity!

How The Crisis Began:
I have been doing a bit of work figuring out how to proceed with Creative Work, as I continue to forge a career utilizing all my skills. In regards to blogging, I have been reading a lot about keeping to one topic, or 'area of expertise'.

I began to realize that this is not an easy thing for me as I have a great deal of experience in many creative channels...and I enjoy doing them all!

Some of these 'experts' say that you can not be all things to all people and I am not trying to be all things to all people. I am just someone who LOVES to explore creativity through various channels and I have seen how this exploration has had beneficial effects on all the creative channels I work in...not to mention positive effects on my life in general.

Starting to Resolve My Identity Crisis:
While in the middle of this 'identity crisis', I spoke of it to my fabulous coach Pete. We discussed the idea of being all things to all people, which I do not believe I am doing on purpose to 'appease' everyone. I just like being creative and I LOVE variety!

Pete wonderfully suggested that there is nothing wrong with doing so many creative interests and he pointed out that it is like being a multifaceted diamond, which SHINES brilliantly...he also observed that perhaps I could be the leader in showing others how being creatively multifaceted is a GREAT thing to be. I could be the person who shows that doing many creative things is not being 'scattered', but being multidimensional, which we truly are as human beings...

Doing many creative things may appear to be 'scattered', like my worktable is! But it really isn't...

I loved this idea and began to play with it in my mind as I continued to think through how to present this multifaceted aspect of myself more fully here on my blog. As I mulled this over, a big thought came to me and I had to write it down so I could remember it and this is just how I wrote it down:

a creative EXPLORER!
always exploring creative channels because being creative is my

I just loved being able to write that down and to feel the truth of it!

I shared this Pete and he loved it too! Now, the next step was to figure out how to begin sharing this truth with others, which has always been part of my mission...

Back in the Beginning:
When I began this blog I had a 'mission statement' written as part of my original profile, which listed the many creative channels I worked in/explored. This was my original profile description:
i love creating! costumes, knitting, collage, sewing, jewelry, and dolls, art journals and book binding...not to mention dancing, writing and performance art! creativity brings much joy into my life just as it brings joy to the people who receive my hand-crafted goods or watch my performance art/storytelling. i believe in the power of creating with your own hands and i also believe in the power of storytelling...
to live a life of art-FULL creativity and to share and ENCOURAGE creativity with others in a heartfelt and meaningful way because i simply can not imagine a life without ART, CREATIVITY and PLAYFULNESS in it...can YOU?

WHEW! That is a pretty lengthy profile description, one that was due for an overhaul...

I have also been meaning to create an "About Me" page for my blog and I realized that sharing my new truth would be a great base for creating my 'about me' page.

There are many 'experts' out there proclaiming the 'best' way to write up ones' bio, and looking at them all can get confusing. I decided to start simply, by taking "imperfect steps", as Pete has called them. I began crafting my "About Me" page last week and then launched it. You can read my 'imperfect' bio here. I think it's a good beginning!

Even if I'm not following the 'right' formula for a bio page! ;)

Other Changes:
Recently, a fellow blogger that I have started to read left a comment stating that I should leave my name on my blog and eliminate my comment verifier. They are both valid points and I'm slowly working my way through these, imperfectly!

I will share my name on my blog eventually, but for now, I have made changes to leaving comments on this blog.

Initially, I added the comment verifier to avoid spam, but somehow, I began to see some very clever comments being left on my 'book binding' posts that had links to commercial printing/binding websites, which I did not appreciate. If the links were to some genuinely awesome hand bound book artisans, I would have gladly left the comments.  Since they were not, the comments were removed...

I know using the comment verifier is a time-consuming way to leave a comment and I want to encourage my readers to leave comments easily. To this end, I have changed the way to leave a comment by using the comment approval system. This may or may not work, since I do not have reliable internet at home, but with some patience, I think this system may actually work out...

There are other ideas in the works, but I will share them when they begin to take real form. In the meantime, I hope you will try out this 'creative experiment' with me - Stay tuned to see how it works out!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sewing Project: Patching up a Skirt...

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
Today I'll be sharing a project on patching up the holes in a t-shirt skirt. The skirt was found in a thrift shop in Ventura, while on my way home from the Artful Journey Retreat...so of course I have to share about my stop in Ventura!

Visiting Ventura:
I usually stop in Santa Barbara for a meal on my way home from the retreat, but I decided to stop in Ventura instead. I have mentioned how much I love the city of Ventura and though I made a trip in early February, I decided another visit was in order!

I parked at the far end of Main Street, close to the mission, which I don't get to see often on my trips to Ventura...

Across the street from the mission, there is a small park with a fabulous large tree, which reminds me of my favorite tree in Ventura:

There is also an interesting fountain with water running along a specially made channel to another fountain directly across from it; you can see the channel in this image:

and a detail shot of the channel in this image:

I also discovered a new store I had not seen on my last trip to Ventura and it's called "Copperfield's":

 With a sign like this, you know it's got to be a great store!
It was a wonderful shop of gifts and stationary, along with a small section of vintage and second hand books! I wasn't able to get shots of the interior but they did allow me to photograph the fabulous store window display:

Look at this fabulous vintage bicycle! Can you see the insect specimens framed on the wall?!?

After perusing the shop, I made my way to one of many thrift shops on this side of Main Street and found a simple, yet fun skirt made of t-shirt fabric:

It's a simple shape in a neutral color that I know I can wear all Spring and Summer, not to mention the comfort of this skirt made in soft t-shirt jersey.

Alas, it had some holes!!

Tiny holes along the side seam of the skirt near the hip area; they might be hidden with a t-shirt, but it's best to patch them up before they get too big...

I probably shouldn't have brought this skirt home, since it would become another project that might linger, but I knew I could patch up these holes in a fun and creative way, so I decided to be sure to work on this project instead of letting it add to the pile of things to be fixed, altered or repaired.

Here is how I patched up these little holes, in a decorative way, step by step:

I used some iron-on interfacing ironed to the back of the back of the skirt where the holes are to strengthen the fabric and decided to use some flower buttons to cover the holes in a decorative way...

Then I realized that these flowers would need some leaves so I used some thick embroidery thread trying to make 'leaves' in one way...

...only to realize that dangling threads weren't working, so I tried making loops and it looked much better, especially after the flower buttons were sewn on:

I also added one more little flower button near the hem - in case I wear a short top that shows the patched areas, another little flower will help to make it seem like a design feature. However, most times my tops are longer so they will actually hide the patching I did, as you can see with this outfit idea I'm playing with...

This outfit is made up of second-hand items: top, skirt and shrug - not bad for a coordinated outfit!

I guess it's okay if you don't see the top flower patches, since you can see the bottom embellishment...sort of!

At least I patched up this skirt so it can worn and I didn't let it linger in my "to do" pile! That is a big accomplishment!

Next week I'll be sharing an update on my "Buy No New Art Supplies" challenge and where I am with it, so be sure to stay tuned!