Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Blog Post #499 - On Work(shops) and Rest...

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend! I had fun attending the Renaissance Pleasure Faire with my dear boyfriend and I wore a chemise that I had recently re-dyed in a navy blue color...which had previously been dyed a deep periwinkle color! Here I am in my Ren Faire garb:

The chemise and skirt made by yours truly; the bodice is a Ren Faire purchase...

I seem to be surrounded by the color blue lately, which is not a usual go-to color for me, but I think it must be surrounding me for the calm and RESTFUL qualities it is associated with, some qualities I feel in need of these days...

'Then it's work, work, work, all the time...'*
I have been doing a LOT of work and hustling to launch my creative career, and much of the work I have been doing is looking into various possibilities for generating income, such as teaching workshops...

Student creation from my "I Am" a French Fold Book workshop, which turned into a party event!

I began teaching workshops from my home due to the fact that many of the craft venues that usually hosted such workshops began to close down before I could approach them with my ideas. Also, from  my experience in Orly Avineri's fabulous art journal workshops, I know first-hand the cozy intimacy created by in-home workshops...however, it's a lot of work to launch a workshop series and to be honest, it's been very slow going, with very few of my workshops actually being held due to lack of students...but NOT from lack of interest!

 I had no students for this fun, creative workshop, though there was some interest in the project...

I decided to look into my local community college, remembering they had a catalog of continuing education for adults. I was delighted to find that the office was still in the same location and I met with the manager of the department, who explained a few basics for submitting an application. I made an appointment to meet with him in person so I could show and discuss the work I do and the workshops I offer.

Now, I had a wild idea that I should have samples for every workshop idea/outline I had ever created, which was not a smart idea, since I discovered that I have 15 workshop ideas I have written up over the past three years! I came to the conclusion that my plan of action would be bringing samples of my creative work, such as my art journals and fabric scrap book, and then inform the manager about the workshops I've hosted so far, with samples to show. This meeting took place last Thursday...

The manager was intrigued with my work and samples, especially my mail art postcards. I brought some old samples, then decided at the last minute to make a new mail art postcard, using one of my personal values on it:

The manager was quite taken with the idea of a mail art postcard workshop, especially one that uses self discovery exercises for uncovering personal values. He also liked the French fold book workshop I created:

He requested that I submit proposal applications for the two workshops to try out in the Fall catalog and these applications needed to be submitted within days of our meeting since the due date for all applications was May 20th.

Luckily for me, I already had the outlines and descriptions of my workshops ready to go, but I was asked to submit a resume and I knew that my old office job resumes would not really work in this case, so an artist resume was needed...and I didn't have one!

With the help of some links from Glenda, of the blog Pilgrim's Thoughts, and a few searches of my own, I managed to cobble together an artist resume, or CV as they are often called.

I am proud to say that my first community college workshops have been submitted!

I will not hear back until late June or July, but I feel very good about this accomplishment. It feels like a big and important step in my creative career.

Now, I feel ready to take a bit of a break and that will include this blog...but not for long!

Time for PLAY!
The Memorial holiday is fast approaching and this would be a good time to take a little vacation from all my hustling and hard work. I can use the time to play in my art journals:

 I still have to finish coloring in the lovely doodles made by fellow journal-ers from Orly's workshop!

...continue with the cleaning of my cluttered home:

My work table as it usually looks...though it was clean enough to see the table top for about 24 hours last week!!

...catch up on the assignments for the two online workshops I'm participating in: Of The Heart** and The Botanical Journal:

 It's Peony Season again and just in time for The Botanical Journal - YAY!!
...and sew up a few things like some aprons or some summer skirts...or maybe a new recycled t-shirt dress from this batch of t-shirts I recently prepped for cutting into a garment:

And of course, the next blog post will be my 500th blog post, so a giveaway is definitely in order! I can certainly try to use some of my 'playtime' figuring out what to give away here at my blog - maybe a specially hand-crafted item or a slew of art supplies I am no longer using...I'll be sure to have it figured out by June 4, when I return from my little break.

In the meantime, thanks for stopping by my blog! Be sure to stay creative and be sure to stay tuned for the upcoming giveaway!

* - Can you name the movie this quote is from??? ;)
** - You can still join the workshop and its open for a whole year, which means lots of time to catch up =)

PS: I am working on figuring out Bloglovin since Google reader will cease to exist in June - I should have a widget so you can follow me there soon!
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Inspiration Card Deck I Received!

Hello Dear blog Readers!
I finally got my Inspirational Card Deck in the mail, made up from all the many participants in Jessica Brogan's fun and fabulous swap!

I just HAD to share some of my favorite cards from this deck with you! Not all the cards had artist info on them, but I will include the blogs/websites of the cards that did:

Card made by Red Dancer Studio

Artist Unknown - love the quote and colors of this card though!

Check out this amazing card:

When I first saw it, I was scratching my head, until I removed the rubber band and discovered...

This card is really a jointed paper doll!! I was AMAZED!! And of course, I love the quote =-)

Artist Unknown - I would LOVE to thank the artist of this amazing card!

Card by Nichole Rae Design - I do love typography =-)

Another fun 'interactive' card with a special note you pull out from the pocket...

Card by Cat at 365Being

I wish I had thought of that!! Maybe I will try it in the next swap...

Card made by Dawn Gold in England - no website/blog

Pink, red and buttons - LOVE!

Card made by Diana D Darden - love the quote!

Are these cards FABULOUS or what??!?! I am so happy to have received so many wonderful little pieces of art in my mail box...

Remember there are 52 cards in the deck, so there are a LOT of amazing, creative and inspiring cards in this deck that I received!! I wish I could share them all with you here, but that would take quite a few blog posts ;)

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out where to store this lovely little collection of art. I may use this old cigar box I've been trying to find a use for...

The lid never really closed all the way, but I began to fiddle with the hinges the other night, and I may just collage the box and hinge the lid with some ribbon scraps instead...

I'll be to sure to share how it comes out when I get around to decorating this cigar box, whenever that happens...

In Other News
I mentioned in my last blog post that I have a meeting to discuss teaching my workshops at a venue close to home. Well, today is the day I meet with a manager for extension classes at a local community college to discuss the possibility of teaching my creative workshops. This college is VERY close to my home, within walking distance, and it would be a GREAT opportunity for creative work. I would be able to reach a larger audience for my workshops which would be fantastic! I've been working on a few extra samples to pitch to the manager when I meet with him. I'll be sure to update you all on the outcome of this meeting in my next blog post next week - wish me luck!

I added some fun little art books to my Etsy shop this week. It is a series of books using wax resist, stencils and pale watercolor washes for the book covers:

They are sweet and fun little pocket books to use on the go! You can find them in the Book Arts section of my shop =-)

I will reach 500 blog posts in the next 2 posts!! I think a giveaway is in order, though I'm not sure what it would be...maybe some extra art supplies I have decided I won't be using..? 

Whatever the giveaway will be, you won't want to miss it, so be sure to stay tuned!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Some Projects I'm Working On..

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I've been up to all kinds of creativity lately and I'm so excited to share some of my personal projects in knitting and jewelry making...

Projects In Process (PiPs) - KNITTING
Awhile ago, I shared a head kerchief I knitted for a fellow Artful Journey attendee, based on one I had made for myself. I've had some head kerchief patterns squirreled away for some time now and I finally started knitting one of them - it's called the Olivia Kerchief and you can find it on Ravelry...here is the progress I've made on my Olivia Kerchief so far:

Gifted yarn from one of my knitting buddies - I can't tell you the brand but I think it's a merino wool...

This pattern is really interesting since you begin by knitting one of the kerchief ties, then increase stitches to create the triangle shape, and you decrease stitches until you end with the other kerchief tie. ALL increases are done on one side of the knitting and the 'lace' edging is creating by decreasing just two stitches! I have not made very much lace in my knitting life, so the concept of taking away stitches to create a lace pattern, instead of increasing them, is a novelty for me!

Another knitting project I've been working on is a return to my very first lace shawl, the Traveling Companion Shawl, which I mentioned in this blog post, last September:

I had finally finished the last lace section which meant it was time to begin the charted lace section - the final section to complete this project. I have worked with charted lace before, but on a smaller scale for a mitts pattern, so the thought of tackling a large chart of lace intimidated me! I decided it was time to tackle the chart so, with a little help from one of the lovely ladies at my local yarn shop (LYS), and encouragement from my knitting buddies, I began the first four rows of the charted lace. If you look carefully, you can see the lace 'holes' forming:

Now that I have begun the lace chart, I feel better about getting this project completed...then I can begin my next shawl that actually launched my current mania for shawl knitting, the Nefertem Shawl! Not to mention the other patterns I've been squirreling away as this shawl mania has been consuming me ;)

It's been awhile since I've worked on any jewelry projects, but as I was doing a bit of tidying up in my creative space a few weeks ago, I uncovered some items I had purchased at a fun event last August. It's called Costume College and I have heard about this event for YEARS, but I had never attended one until last year. Though, it was really shopping in the vendor room that I did, with my dear boyfriend coming along for fun!

There was a vendor selling vintage inspired bracelets with vintage buttons and she was selling kits to make your own bracelet. There was also an option to buy the bracelet base in case you had your own buttons to work with. I purchased a bracelet base, along with a few buttons that I liked, then forgot about it all until the other week. I decided it was time to start working on the bracelet before another round of Costume College came along...so much for tidying up my creative space!

Element configuration #1

I bought the brass and silver floral buttons, knowing I had PLENTY of vintage mother of pearl buttons to include for my bracelet. My only problem was, which configuration to chose from for the final design???!?

Element configuration #2

Element configuration #3

vintage inspired bracelet
Element configuration #4 - the dark silver floral buttons are from my personal collection

I really like all the configurations of the elements for each bracelet design, but I have decided to go with #3...though if I can find the vendor selling these bracelet bases, I may buy more of them to make up the other design configurations...which I could sell in my Etsy shop!

There is one little hitch I have bumped up against in making this bracelet - removing the shank from the back of the large brass button...

Vintage mother-of-pearl button from my collection

If you look closely at the previous photos, you can see the shanks I managed to remove from the back of the smaller brass and silver toned buttons. The large brass toned button, above, has been a LOT harder to remove, so I enlisted the help of my dear boyfriend...but even he had some trouble removing all of the shank:

I will have to file away the remains so I'll have an even surface to work with, which means this bracelet will take a little longer to complete than I had hoped, but it will look wonderful when it's done...and I might be able to wear it to the next Costume College taking place in August!

The centerpiece for my vintage inspired bracelet to be completed by August - you heard it here first!

Another jewelry project I've been working on is completing a mis-matched pair of mixed media earrings...here is the one I've been working on completing:

mixed media earrings
 Mixed media earring in process: paper ephemera scraps, vintage button and lace scrap

This earring is part of a pair that I shared a photo of here on my blog. Sadly, one of the earrings got lost...but since I had a single earring from another pair I decided I would make them a collage/mixed media pair of earrings. Here is how I altered the first single earring:

While at the Artful Journey retreat in February, I asked for elements from some of the participants to use in creating the long earring. I got some paper ephemera from a fellow book maker in my workshop, and a scrap of lace from a participant in another workshop. I had hoped to work on the earring before leaving the retreat, but since I was doing so much book and paper making, it didn't happen until the other week. I'm happy with the results:

Completed earring with paper ephemera, lace and vintage button on brass metal base

A completed pair of mis-matched mixed-media earrings!

Now that the pair is complete, I can wear them to next years Artful Journey event! Be sure to check out the Artful Journey Retreat website and join the Artful Journey Facebook page for details. Today was the announcement of the line-up of teachers, so it will be a great event next year, as always!

In Other News
I received my packet of cards from the Inspirational Card Deck Swap!!

 Lots of creative goodness is hiding in these packets - I can't wait to see them all!

I will be looking at them all during the week ahead and I'll share more details about them in my next blog post...

I have an exciting and important meeting this week to discuss the possibility of teaching my creative workshops at a location that is close to home, that might provide a wider audience. I'll share more about this meeting soon...

I have three more posts before I reach 500 blog posts!! And the month of July will mark my 4 year Blogiversary! I guess some giveaways are in order for these momentous occasions, so be sure to stay tuned for all the upcoming excitement!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Creating an Inspiration Card Deck - Part III

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
Today is the third installment of my process for making my inspiration card deck for the swap hosted by Jessica Brogan of the blog "In Search of Dessert", but first a sneak peek at my upcoming workshop taking place on May 19...

Word Tool Book Workshop
I recently acquired a copy of the book "Inner Excavation" written by Liz Lamoreux. I had heard about one of the writing exercises in this post by this wonderful blog buddy, and I was intrigued with the concept...

After acquiring my own copy of "Inner Excavation", I read through the exercise and really liked it, but thought it might be fun to create a small book of the words gathered using this exercise, so I created my "Word Tool Book with Protective Box" workshop. I think making the book will be just as much fun as gathering the words to go into it...

I made two samples as I worked out the box and case design but I like the decorative paper version best:

You can read more details about my workshop on my events page. This workshop will be the last in-home workshop as I take time during the summer to participate in a few craft fairs and get my work seen by the public at large. You can contact me using my email in the sidebar to join in the fun!

And now for the last installment of my inspiration card deck...

Designing the Back of the Deck
In my last post, I mentioned how I like the look and feel of natural craft brown paper and cardboard, which I wanted to retain in my deck of cards...

I realized the best way to do this was by using rubber stamps and stamping ink to create a design...

My first color choices for stamping ink colors: Sepia Brown and a deep Burgundy color. I eventually added one other color, which you'll see shortly...

I was lucky enough to have some rubber stamps that would be large enough to cover a large amount of surface at once, so I would not have to continually be stamping for hours on end! Using these stamp designs meant I was only rubber stamping for less than an hour ;)

I decided to add color interest with this warm yellow-orange color - it looks great mixed with sepia brown or burgundy...here is how the stamps looked covering the back surface of the cereal boxes:

I could see the space between the rows of stamping seemed a bit wide so I added a tiny embellishment stamp of a 7-point star and used the third color, which added a brightness to the overall design, if I do say so myself!

Now that the card boards were fully covered, I could cut down my cards and add my quotes!

Cuts and Quotes
When I decided I was going to join this swap, I immediately went searching for quotes that were inspiring quotes on Life or Art. I found 52 quotes, but decided to repeat two pages of quotes for the deck I would be sending. I do hope to use the whole 52 quotes for creating a special deck of my own...

I was so excited to be getting to the cutting portion of this project! It meant I would be adding my inspiring quotes, which meant I'd be able to read them over and over as I glued them down - talk about positive reinforcement!

Due to the layered color of the card base, I felt a little extra color was needed for each quote, which meant that it would take a little longer to glue the quotes onto my cards - DOH!!

And it took a little longer than I expected to cut each quote to fit my deck of cards - I had not properly measured a margin for the quotes to fit into the cards, so they got aligned on the diagonal, which I happen to like anyway. Here are two of my cards with quotes and attributions:

All that was needed was to add my blog and contact info on the back of each card, just in case anyone wants to touch base to let me know if they like the card, the quote or maybe even to say hello!!

 VOILA! My Inspirational Card Deck is complete!

According to Jessica, every participant should expect to receive their individual decks sometime this month. I can't wait to see all the wonderful art I will get in the mail from participating in this project! I'll be sure to share it with you when it arrives...in the meantime, I hope my detailed step-by-step process will inspire you to create your own deck of cards using quotes that resonate for YOU!

In Other News:
I heard about an amazing exhibit of line drawings made by John Lennon that would be taking place for three days only. I thought it was an amazing coincidence since I had been watching two different documentaries about John Lennon and Yoko Ono, both of which detailed their political activism using their art. My dear boyfriend and I made a trip to view the drawings - sadly, no photography was allowed, but I could get a photo of the window poster:

And I found a link where you can view many of the prints that made up this exhibit, which you can check out HERE. I think you'll be inspired by the Real Love: The Drawings for Sean - they are full of whimsy and color! Looking at the drawings began to inspire me to begin picking up my pencil to practice drawing again...which I may be doing as part of the Botanical Journal workshop I'm participating in =-)

I have lots more creative adventures to share so be sure to stay tuned!