Friday, October 2, 2009


I have to call the Salt Fork River Art Festival a success. I made my booth in the first 2 sales, and did fairly well for myself, especially for the first time out. I met some people who were quite enthusiastic about my art, and took a special/custom order. It was exhilarating and terrifying to present things that I'd made to strangers, face to face.

I learned that people are very easily distracted, focusing on the flags I made to draw people over, and missing the art altogether. (That was frustrating!) My displays need work, but considering how much time I had to get that together and the money I had to spend, I think I did OK.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

How I Spent 2/3 of Labor Day Weekend

Here are the dozen flags, all of them, on the bed. I finished those up Sunday morning.This is the logo flag - whatever other order I put them in, this one will be in the center of the string.
And here's how I finished up my Sunday, matting prints, 44 of them...
I'm not quite done. I still need to come up with something to put the cards in so they're neat and won't get banged up, and I still have the pendants to make... oh what a pain those will be! I could go to the festival right now, however, and still be fine. I have prints to sell, and that's the main thing. I have an eye-catching way to set off my booth (not finished, still working on the how if it) and I will have my books to sell as well. There's still plenty to accomplish before the end of the month, but I can relax a little bit now.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Procrastinating Creatively

I do not enjoy assembling the matted prints. It has to be done, but I don't have to like doing it. Because I am me and put things off until they can no longer be avoided, I have come up with many creative ways of avoiding things I don't want to do. This may be my best yet.

You know that foggy waking dreamstate you have before the alarm goes off, when you're not quite asleep, but you couldn't be called awake, either? This morning I had one of those awesome ideas that come in that in-between time. I could take men's handkerchiefs, make iron-on transfers of the kaleidoscoped photos, and make a string of "prayer flags" to hang from the tent/booth for the art festival -- eye-catching advertising that is also inexpensive. I went today and got the hankies and the transfer paper, and got to work. There were 13 hankies in the package but only 12 transfers (of course!), so I got 2 packages -- which also gave me insurance in case of a goof-up.

Here's the first one I did:
The hankies are considerably wider than the 8-inch print size my printer will do. It's good, but it needs something... not sure what exactly. I ruminated on this while I printed out the others.

Later, I realized what was needed was a border. Fortunately for me, the hankies have a design woven into them, making a nice-sized border and guidelines for where to paint. Here's one half-done:
And a close-up of one corner. I coordinated the paint to the red in the photo. These may need a second coat of paint; the cotton-poly was pretty thirsty.

As I mentioned, there are 13 of these, 2 of them have my logo for Shattered Photos on them, though one of those is crooked and I don't think I could stand to look at it knowing that it's off. Haven't decided yet how to make a string of them, though I'm considering several things, but when finished, it will be more than 12 feet long, and the tent I'm borrowing is 10 feet square -- making my length of flags just about perfect for hanging across the front of it.

Once I finish painting all these (each one will have a different color-coordinated border), I'll be out of excuses (theoretically) and will have to start assembling the prints. Unless I decide to go shopping for the boxes I need to display the cards... hmm...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stressing About the To-Do List

Holy crap. I have a lot to do for this thing. I want to do a slideshow of the images I used to make the kaleidoscopes... but that means I have to find them (I didn't flag them or anything, I just thought - hey, I bet that would work well!). I need to do some of the pendants. I need to assemble the cards and the prints once everything arrives. I need to calculate the cost of the bigger prints. I need to come up with an inventory system so I can track what sells so I know which prints to order. I need to have a mailing list (maybe?!) for customers. I need to make sure I have a pen and paper so I can note any comments people make - good and bad. I need to find the copies of my book so I can haul those too. Make business cards. Come up with some ways to attract people to my booth without being obnoxious about it (no giant inflatables, no blaring music).

But what I need to do more than anything is Chill. The. Hell. Out.




Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why People Like Me Shouldn't Do Art Shows

Last fall, I visited a winery very near where I grew up, Sleepy Creek Vineyards. They were having their 1st Annual Salt Fork River Art Festival, and Mom, Melinda and I wandered among the artists exhibiting, and I tasted some wine (delish!). We were kinda scouting for Melinda, a bead artist, but I saw one of the photographer's works and knew I was better than she... minor daydreaming occurred, thinking about having a booth in the nebulous future, showing my own works. I signed up to get the email newsletter from the winery, some of which I barely read, and months pass.

Thursday, I get their newsletter, and something in this one catches my attention: Now calling all artists for the 2nd annual Salt Fork Art Festival that will be held here on Sept 26 - 27. I email the contact listed, and receive an e-flyer with more info. Immediately I start thinking and my brain slips into hyperdrive...

Hey, only $40 if I can come up with a tent (I think a friend of mine has one I can borrow, maybe). Crap, it's juried. Hey, will be down there this weekend anyway, I can take some of my stuff. Quickly firing off an email. Crap, they're busy with the harvest, oh! but he'll accept a website or e-files for the jurying. Quickly firing off another email with the link to Shattered Photos. Waiting, waiting for the reply, I'm in! My work looks "interesting" he says and should be a nice addition to the show. Go to class, friends are ridiculously supportive of this whole idea, and offer a tent I can use before I can even ask. [Friday morning] Crap! how much am I going to need to take with me? Get on the phone to bug Mom for advice. She doesn't know either. Artists are required to be there the whole time both days (total of 13 hours), how much can I possibly sell? What if I sell everything on the first day, then have nothing to show on Sunday? What if I invest a bundle, and no one buys anything? How many cards? Cards are inexpensive, people will buy those (order 100 more, and the poly bags to put them in). How many 5x7s? Uhhhh... Should I order 8x10s? Yes, but only a few - those get expensive. Looking at photos, looking at prints, making some more of the kaleidoscopes, uploading, ordering... scouring online for a coupon code. w00t! here's one for 20% off the order! Still haven't ordered the show kits [mats, backer board, poly bags all included]. The investment for the show is already adding up. Crap! where are the pieces-parts to make more of the pendants? Digging, rummaging, aHA! I can make these while I wait for the other stuff to show up - those cards take forever to assemble, what a PITA that will be. Gotta order the mats. Gotta pay for the space. Can I get an electric hookup (how much)? Yes, dunno cost. Need my netbook, can use it to keep track of sales and get names/addresses. Hey! I can use it to play a slideshow of the photos I used to make the kaleidoscopes! [pre-dawn Saturday] Brain clicks on: I can use my netbook to play music for me... Crap! what kinda music should I play? Funky mix of stuff I like? Nah, might turn people away... Classical? Nah, my stuff doesn't look like classical music... I know: bond! Yeah, that's it! It's classical, it's funky, it's perfect! OK, that solved, I can go back to sleep. Crap. No I can't.

So here I am, sharing where my brain has been for the last 65 hours or so. Sun's not even up yet... *sigh* Yes, I know I overthink everything. Yes, I know this doesn't have to be stressful (too late!). Yes, I know (sorta) that everything will be fine. But, but, but... it could be a disaster, it could rain, people could hate them, people could say they wished I brought my "real" photos, people could say "I could do this" snarkily under their breath, I could invest all this time and money and not make a dime... and this is why people like me shouldn't do art shows.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Slugfest Continues

Turns out Canada is too laid-back a place to get camera crazy. :) I did take pictures, of course, but my camera was not glued to my face. So I took some photos, laughed with excellent company, and was lazy for a week. It was fab.

One of the wineries visited, with truly amazing fruit wines.

Culture in Toronto (really sorry I was going to miss out on that, I left the weekend this was to take place).

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Part of the canal system, view off the bridge, near Welland.

Sunset in Port Dalhousie

Saturday, July 4, 2009


I've been a complete slug. Not feeling particularly creative lately, busy with a million other things, but most lately, planning a solo trip to Ontario. Cameras in tow, I will have another place to take a million photos of... Toronto, Niagara Falls, dozens of vineyards, Lake Ontario.... It's gonna be great!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hallowe'en Necklace-to-Be

A few years ago, my mom, a friend of ours, and I went to the Bead & Button show up in Milwaukee. As we wandered, I picked up some gorgeous raku ceramics, some dyed mother of pearl, and some Hallowe'en-themed lampwork. On the ride back home, I started describing an idea I had for a mixed media necklace for Hallowe'en. Wool beads, wooden beads, felt, fabric, Shrinky Dink, paper, polymer clay... I sketched quickly (and crudely - I'm useless with drawing) and Mom and Melinda added their 2¢ as well.

I have made a few pieces from that original idea (the mini needle-felted sculptures, an experiment with mokume gane, and some of my first felted beads), and Melinda had made some lampwork ghosts for me, plus the little ceramic hat-wearing ghostie from her as well. Most of this, like the idea that spawned it, moulders in a box, waiting for me to finish it. I want to work on it, I can't wait to see my creation completed, but... like many of my projects, it has stalled. Too many ideas! I stare at them when my eyes close and it's so overwhelming!

Maybe if I leave The Box out where I have to look at it all the time, perhaps then I will complete my masterpiece and have something to show off this Hallowe'en.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Creative Process

Got to working on my altered book, and needed space to spread out the materials. I pulled out the card table and gathered some of my stuff... 

It didn't start out quite this disorderly, honestly. All I can say is, the creative process isn't neat. :D What's a little alarming is that this isn't everything -- I have more stuff in a box by my desk.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Great Possibilities, Templates

Mirkwood Designs has a number of really wonderful templates that she offers for free. The designer recommends tracing the templates onto cardstock, but I thought I'd try something a little different. I printed the template on regular  paper (20#), scuffed the glossy surface of a chipboard box I pulled out of recycling, and glued the template to that. Then I cut out the template, which gives me something much sturdier than cardstock, and includes the instructions and copyright information on the template.

I was trying to find some good templates for envelopes of various kinds, things that I could use with the papers I bought, intending to use in my altered book. However, the colors for that are much more muted than the colors I have been using... now I need to decide if I'm screwed with the colors my hands chose, or if I can Go With It, and just not continue with the really bright colors for the entire book. 

If an altered book journal is a stream of consciousness sort of work, then I can't believe I screwed up. Color is immensely important to me, and the only colors that really don't resonate for me are pastels and navy blue. (Navy actually makes me feel kinda off. Seriously.) So even though I have a pile of paper in the mustard, olive and paprika sort of spectrum, maybe I can still make those work with the pages I have. That's what I wanted the envelopes for, especially since many of the papers are double-sided; fold open a "petal card" and reveal a whole new color inside, and enough space for a little journaling. Plus, that may work to calm down the brightness of the pages. Or maybe it will look completely weird. I think the only way I'll be able to tell is to actually cut one out, and try it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stalled... Again

So I got the new pages for the altered book ready for adding embellishment, notes, tags, whatever. Now I am staring at those same pages and wondering "what next?" When faced with so many possibilities, I find I am paralyzed with indecision. I will consider my options while I work on chores today: laundry, grocery shopping, dishes... maybe all that busywork will allow me to plug away on the issue with the book in the background.

I figure the project will be done some time around my 50th birthday, at the rate I'm going. (11 years off, if you're curious.)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Altered Book, Continued

I had a flash of inspiration and have been working on my altered book again, after having set it aside for months. Frankly, it's about all I have the energy for at the moment, with a nasty cold that is keeping me from sleeping well, or breathing.

The new pages will highlight the computer journal entries I made when I started taking my belly dance classes, o' so many years ago. I prepped the pages with gesso, cut the pages so they're notched for each week of the 8-week session. Some weeks have more than one entry, so some pages have more than one page notched for that week. I then painted each week its own color, added the printed journal entries, set eyelets into the notches and added fibers and a tag to each.

It looks good so far, but the pages are pretty bare, so my next thing will be to figure out how to decorate the pages.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Valentines (really long post)

This year was the 20th anniversary of my 1st date with my husband. He's really difficult to buy for, and nothing really jumped out and shouted This is it! This is perfect for Valentine's Day! But then I got the utterly mad idea to make him 20 valentines. Why mad? Because I got the idea late Friday morning, February 6th. That left me with only part of Friday and Monday to work on them, because he'd be home on the weekend, and I wanted to mail them to his office as a surprise.

I called Mom in a bit of a panic, and asked if I couldn't get enough done on Friday, could I buzz down there for the weekend. Which is what I ended up doing. Turns out that when our daughter was getting off the bus at a quarter to 3, his truck was behind the bus! Meanwhile, I am wildly pitching random art supplies in a large box, flipping it closed when he walked in the door, then resuming when he vanished into his office. I told him that I was going to help Mom with some bookkeeping, as she'd gotten behind (that was true, she was behind), if that was OK. Predictably, he said that was no problem, making the lie even more uncomfortable.

A 2-hour drive, and many errands later (Mom doesn't like to have to run into town after dark by herself), I was unloading all my crap on the dining room table, my art studio for the next 36 hours (or so). Dad was Not Amused when he saw it all (and it wasn't even all out of the box!). but he didn't grumble too much, and I did clear everything away when we ate, of course. I was up until 11pm that night, up at 6ish, back at it by 8 and working until 1am Sunday, stopping only to eat. I finished up after 4 hours of sleep later Sunday morning. (Took me a week to recover from my sleep deprivation and stress to get them done.)

ANYWAY, here's the 21 valentines (the pack of cards had an extra, so I used it to symbolize the Valentine's Day yet to come).

aluminum AZ Ice Tea can

Shrinky Dink, colored pencil

paper lace, clear red plastic sheet

suncatcher paint on plastic

woven cardstock, foil paper

plastic mosaic cabochons, foil paper 

toothpicks colorwashed with diluted acrylic paint, cardstock

pastel chalk



rubber stamped cardstock, colored pencil, glitter

acrylic paint, heavy gel medium, glitter

wire, cardstock, satin ribbon

feathers, metallic cardstock

polymer clay, resin face

duct tape, Dymo label

glossy cardstock, wallpaper sample, clear mosaic tiles, glitter

mulberry paper

stuffed fabric, lace

cast paper pulp, eyelet, pastel chalk

needle felting

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Experiment Results

I'm an impatient sort; a hair dryer sped things along between paint layers. But here it is, complete with the frame I picked out, ready to hang. The dark squares in the opposite corners are the mirror tiles. It's not exactly, precisely what I wanted/intended, but I'm pretty pleased with the results, just the same. Getting the texture I wanted out of the gel medium was really, really difficult. That will take some practice.

Getting Started

I bought Altered Surfaces (below). I took it back. It's very colorful, lots of interesting ideas... and very superficial. I have been looking at The New Acrylics: Complete Guide to the New Generation of Acrylic Paints instead, and will probably pick that up with a 50% off coupon. Seems to me that AS is intended for crafters, and TNA is aimed at artists. I fall somewhere in between, but AS is $17 with 51 pages; TNA is $25 with 160 pages, and it has far more in-depth information about what you can do with acrylic paints, not so much project ideas.

SO! After talking to my mom, who used to paint, and picking her artist's brain, we agreed that the best way to approach my brain-on-fire for this idea of mixed media on canvas was to do it. I saw this great dragonfly pendant at Michael's and decided to use that as my jumping-off point.

I am working on an 8x10" canvas board, and I have my first paint colors on the board, along with a crackle finish coat. Once that's dry, I'll paint on my second pair of colors and wait for that to dry and crackle. The dragonfly is pewter in color and has some Deco styling. I used turquoise glass teardrops and hung them from the holes in the wings, and broke off the loops that were intended to suspend the pendant. I bought some dried reeds I may or may not use, and some mirror tiles. I thought about using vitreous mosaic tiles, but decided against it, because I want to use extra-heavy gel medium to create texture in what will be air and water, and didn't want to take away from the space I want to create movement. Mulberry paper may also appear in there somewhere, but I haven't decided. 

I'll post pix when I have something to show for all this mania.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Canvas Craving

I am mad to try some of the ideas I saw in this book:

It appears to be a fairly basic intro to messing with acrylics and the various Golden media that they can be added to. I've had an itch to try playing with canvas for a while. This book shoved me right over the edge.

Only a matter of time before I end up with the book and the supplies. If I can hold off til spring, maybe I can set up in the garage...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

From the 7th

Nothing edited but the crop. I played with levels and saturation, but decided I liked this better. Desaturation is kinda nice, too, though...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Xmas Fabric

Here are all the fabrics for the star-shaped vintage tree skirt I have planned:

I'm considering appliquéing the Santas onto the green - or it may be too much (trouble, time, pattern).

And this is the candle fabric I couldn't resist, but don't have plans for. It's the least red of all the red fabrics, having a pink cast to it.

The pattern calls for sewing gold rick rack onto the tree skirt, and I'm considering that, too. Vintage pattern, vintage-inspired fabrics, vintage-style embellishment... all to go under my vintage aluminum tree! Stockings will also be made from four of the five reds under the tree, accented with the solid green, with cuffs.

Currently, the only fly in my eggnog is the fact that the pinup skater material has a much larger pattern than the others. I think it will be fine, but I wish that design was a little more on scale with the others. Nothing's perfect, right?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another Tree Skirt

Decorating for the Yule holiday used to be something I relished. The last few years has brought out the Grinch in me, and I haven't done as much. That said, I have a small tree, actually purchased when I was in college (Mom didn't think my dorm room should be tree-free), and is only 3 feet tall. I've been using holiday napkins tucked around the base as a tree skirt, but they're a deep green and red plaid, and the tree is "Victorian" in theme with pink and mauve ribbons, pearl garland, maroon flowers, and ornaments I only use on this tree. So... because I'm insane (haven't I mentioned that??) I decided to crochet a tree skirt for it.

Here's the beginning of the round I'm making. It's just a shell stitch (the only one I've mastered, frankly), using, left to right, Moda-Dea Dream "Leaf," Patons Brilliant "Crystal Cream" and Dream "Raspberry."

The raspberry-colored yarn isn't nearly as red as it appears in these photos, raspberry is definitely the way I would describe the color, and the green is a soft sage. The cream yarn is sparkling with gold strands. I plan to weave a strand of tiny pearls (think bridal aisle) into the completed tree skirt, at the outside edge. I should be able to finish this WIP in a day or two. Don't you love quickies? :D

The lump in the top of the ring is a goof I had to fix. Somehow, my shells got twisted as I made my way around. Oops. Fortunately, it will be right at the base of the tree, and invisible. Also fortunate, the Dream yarn is pretty lightweight, so the bulk isn't anything like what it would have been if I was using worsted weight. I COULD have undone it and started over, but I didn't see the need, considering where the mistake is.