Monday, June 26, 2006

goodbye for now

Well friends, it's off to Cape Cod tomorrow and France on Friday. Woo Hoo! Hope you all have a wonderful few weeks, and I will have lots of news and art to share when I return the third week of July.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

sock dog

I got this great book at the wonderful Japanese bookstore in Seattle back in April, and finally got around to making the dog pictured on the cover.

The book is full of the cutest glove and sock animals, and the instructions to make them are very clear, even though it's all in Japanese. There are step by step photos to guide you through the whole process.

It seems that Japanese craft books are really hot right now. I've seen mention of them in other blogs recently. My friend Dawn is really into them right now as well, and told me she ordered some off of Amazon Japan! Way to go, Dawn!

The graphics are very clean and simple, which I like. There was another book there I looked at that pictured little knitted kitties participating in various activities; having a bowl of soup, looking out the window, sitting in the garden. It was fresh, original and adorable! Funds prohibited me from purchasing that one however (sigh).

Somehow my dog doesn't look half as cute as the one pictured here...hmmm. Maybe they used a different sized glove?

I may have to try this again.

Here's a photo of my big kitty, Butters, snuggling up to his new sock friend....
He's so cute (the cat I mean)!

Well, I guess it's back to the drawing board, or the glove department!

Friday, June 23, 2006

new "old" painting

I had this half finished painting sitting around for about a month, and finally finished it up yesterday. I found a wonderful sheet of blue paper at the Paper Studio when I went the other day that added just the touch of contrast I was looking for. You've heard the saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear"; in my case I guess it was, "When the painting is ready, the perfect paper will appear!"

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I LOVE these bezels!

I am so happy with the bezels I purchased the other day from The Paper Studio! Here are the charms I made yesterday.

I woke up about 5:15am this morning, got myself out for a walk with the dog around 6am ( you have to go out then this time of year...110 degrees today!), so had plenty of time to play with the charms before heading off to a couple of appointments. I haven't done jewelry in a little while, so it was fun to play in that medium once again. I LOVE jewelry, love to wear it, so making it is always a treat because I get to wear what I make. What could be better?

I've done a lot of silver soldered jewelry (see my website), and that's great because you can add multiple charms and have a little more flexibility on size, but these babies are so much less labor intensive! Make your little collage, glue it down, then fill the whole thing with Diamond Glaze and let it dry. Fabulous!

Below are the finished jewelry pieces using a few of the charms....

I have a couple of bezels left, so may finish those up this afternoon. I also have a couple of paintings waiting for some finishing touches, so will get on that as well. Till tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A delicate ATC from my friend Bridgette

Today I went over to the Paper Studio to purchase some new bezels they're selling that I saw a couple of weeks ago. I've been spending some time working with them, and they are all lined up in a little row, diamond glaze drying away.

My theme today seems to be birds, eggs and nests. I made some cool charms incorporating Bridgette's wonderful bird's nest above into some of them. I'll post photos of my little charms tomorrow when they're dry.

I have other things I should be doing, like getting ready for the big trip next week, but I only seem motivated to work in the studio. I want to spend time tomorrow making the little bezels into necklaces and earrings but don't know how much time I'll have.

I find lately most days I just want to stay in my studio and create. I love the days that I can play and do whatever I want creatively, no real time constraints. It's going to be a challenge come fall to do my own work outside of school. I will make it a priority to make time!

I also enjoy looking at other folk's blogs. I was reading Nina Bagley's today, and she talked about an issue I think and struggle with a work not being my own, not being original. She says, "for quite some time now, i've been "running" and trying to stay ahead in some sense, trying to keep my own style what it is. i see it as it is, and it is what it is. but lately it seems that my work, my personal style, is beginning to blend and blur into the work of others - i don't know - perhaps we are all just feeding off of each other, and this frightens me to some degree. it almost makes me want to close all magazines, all books, all photographs, all websites, and hide myself so that i can't and won't be influenced by anyone but myself. i used to work a lot more in metal with my mixed media (outside of my jewelry, i'm speaking here; meaning, bookwork and assemblage), using tarnished copper mesh and copper sheet and galvanized steel with much more frequency than i do now, simply because so many other folks are out there using it in mass quantities. i've always worked passionately with what i find in nature - birds' nests, sticks, stones that i drill and lace with wire. these i combine with softer, aged barkcloth and torn ribbon to adorn covers of boxes and books. does even that still look like me? will it continue to look like my work?"

Her words resonated deeply within me. I struggle with this all the time! It's so validating hearing another artist talk about this issue, an artist who's well known, a teacher and wonderful creative force. I sometimes lack confidence in my work, worry that it's trite, cliche, and imitates other's styles. It's a real struggle moving past that. I get so much inspiration and happiness from looking at other's creations, but I also feel like I should cut myself off sometimes to get at the essence of me. It's funny; my friends and family can pick out my work in a field of others, but I worry so much about looking like everyone else's! Well, I guess the key is to keep working, listening and breathing.

If anyone else out there struggles with this, let me know...

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I finally finished the journals for our upcoming France trip. I took a couple of classes with Teesha Moore at the Paper Studio in Tempe, AZ several months ago, one of which was how to make your own journal. It was the most useful class I've ever taken, and I love making my own books with my choice of paper in them. I decided that one journal was probably not going to be enough, so I made two to take with me. Best to be prepared! Most of the stuff I'm taking with me will be art and craft supplies. Big surprise there.

Can't wait to begin filling these volumes! Less than two weeks and counting....

Thursday, June 15, 2006

crochet and other projects

A busy day today, but had some time to finish a painting I started working on yesterday. I was greatly inspired by my "Spare Parts" packet from Anahata Katkin (if you haven't yet, check out her blog and website...yummy!). Used some of the collage elements in this piece. I love vibrant color (as if you haven't noticed!), and laid it on in this one. It makes me happy to look at it and it will soon be hanging on my studio door.

Speaking of Anahata, I absolutely love the way her blog is designed, and it's making me feel motivated to figure out how to customize my blog. It's ok the way it is, but I'd love to have a different background, a border of my design, colors that I choose, etc. If anyone has any pointers, let me know!

On the crochet front, I met with Dawn a couple of days ago and she showed me how to join the crocheted flowers in the scarf I've been attempting to make. Here's my progress so far (Thanks, Dawn!)... It looks so much better than the way I was doing it!

I'm also working on making two journals for our trip to France coming up in less than two weeks! I'm so excited!! Last year we were fortunate enough to go to the UK, and visit London and Glasgow. It was an incredible trip, one I won't ever forget. This year my parents invited us to go to France with them. We're going to be staying in the south of France, about an hour from Marseilles, in a beautiful villa owned by a friend of the family who is French and will be there with us (wonderful, since none of us speak French!). I plan on doing loads of drawing and journaling while there and will share when I return.

Must close now as I have laundry to put away. In a little while I'm meeting up with a couple of dear friends for dinner before we head off to our weekly poker game, which is always an adventure. The dogs generally outnumber the people! A fun time is had by all (puppies included).

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

weddings, babies and life

I have several wedddings coming up as well as a few babies, so I decided I better get to work on some gifts. This painting started out as a wedding gift, but it kind of morphed into something else. It doesn't look very "wedding" to me. More of a virgin mary/goddess thing happening. I used some of Anahata's "Spare Parts" collection and like what they add. Will go back to the drawing board for a more "wedding-ish" feel.

Speaking of the drawing board, I also did a drawing this morning of my sleeping poodle. She's an easy subject to draw, as she REALLY likes to nap, so stays nice and still. She got a haircut about a week and a half ago, so she's a trim little poodle right now.

After posting, I'm back to work on a new piece. We'll see where this one takes me...

Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm a "happy hooker"

I've learned a new craft recently - crochet, and I'm really enjoying it. My friend Dawn and I brought our crochet hooks to Artfest this year, committed to figuring out the elusive hook and how it makes fabric from string. My partner's mom taught me some basic stitches before we went, so I had a very rudimentary knowledge of what to do with the hook.

My motive for learning to crochet? To make some cool ponchos and flower items. Like the flower scarf in "Stitch n Bitch, The Happy Hooker". Dawn said she's figured out how to join the flowers (something I just couldn't dope out, despite several hours worth of effort) and she's going to show me how to do it, hopefully today. Very exciting!

The photo is a crocheted basket that we both bought the pattern and yarn for at a yarn shop on Bainbridge Island last year. I finished the basket last week and felt the satisfaction one feels when one has had a project hanging around for awhile and finally finishes it. I remember being in the yarn shop and looking at the baskets, how cute they were and how much I wanted to make one. I also remember thinking, "it'll be a miracle if I can figure this out." And here I am, a year later, finished basket in hand. I even made the flower myself, no pattern!

Lately I've been feeling pulled to quilt again. Several years ago, my partner got me into quilting, and that was the key that unlocked my dormant creativity. Now I work in lots of mediums and don't quilt anymore. I enjoy knitting and crocheting, but I feel drawn to add hand quilting and applique back into the mix. I feel such a sense of peace and contentment when working with my hands in that way. It's a moving meditation for me. If someone asked me "do you meditate", I would reply "absolutely; I do handcrafts". There's something so soothing about the repetitive motion; if I'm feeling anxious it helps calm me. And I'm feeling drawn to make pictures with fabric and applique. I have some projects that need finishing and I'll focus on those before I start something new.

In the meantime, it's off to meet my crochet buddy and master those flowers!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I couldn't wait!

We grouted the ENTIRE bathroom today! It looks gorgeous!! I feel so happy and proud of us, that we were able to do this and make it look so good. We have a lot more work to do, but may be ahead of where we thought we would be before we go on vacation in a couple of weeks. I may actually get to paint before we go. That might be a stretch, as all the tile and grout now have to have enhancer and sealer applied, but you never know. Following are pics of what we accomplished today:

Friday, June 09, 2006

girl power continues...

Today I finished working on the banner for the space over the window in my studio. It says "create". Kinda hard to see from the photo. I'm realizing I may need a digital photo class to enable me to take better photos! I had envisioned a banner for that space, then saw an adorable one on Pam's site, so I borrowed her idea and customized it to fit my needs. I really like it, and will enjoy looking at it each time I'm in my studio.

Here's a close-up of one of the letters. You can see a little more detail here:
Keeping a blog has helped me stay focused on art, and most importantly, MAKING art! If I have a day or two that passes without my making anything, I think, "uh-oh, I'd better get into the studio and make something!". Thanks go out to my Artfest friends for turning me on to this blogging thing; I really love it, both writing one and reading other people's!

I received a wonderful surprise today. My honey sent me flowers for no real reason; no anniversary, no birthday, just because. My eyes filled up with happy tears when I saw them. It's a true gift to be treasured by another, and I try not to take that for granted. I'm of an age now that I know the realities of love and relationships, that it's not always happily ever after, that relationships don't always last no matter how much love you started with. So to still be cherished after many years, to still be surprised, is so wonderful. Thank you, honey, for everything.

They're a lovely mix of tulips and iris. Perfect spring flowers!

My next art project is a banner for the door to my studio. I've got the watercolor paper gessoed and ready to go. It will probably be a couple of days before I get to work again. I feel some ideas percolating, and will be raring to go when I get the chance.

So everyone have a wonderful weekend, and I'll post again in a couple of days!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

quick post

Just a quick note today as I have my friend arriving momentarily for dinner. I worked on a couple of cards today and had a blast! Here are the results of my play time; they look really washed out here, but hopefully when they post they'll look better

Monday, June 05, 2006

How I Spent my Summer Vacation

We have become weekend warriors.

This is our master bathroom that has been under construction for several months now. We finally have all the shower and floor tiling adhered. What a job! We spent all day yesterday working on this project (thankfully it's a very small bath!) and are both sore and tired today, but also very pleased with what we accomplished.

I'm attaching several photos, mostly so my dad can see the progress we're making (have fun, Dad!).

Next step is grouting, which will hopefully be happening next Sunday. Not that we'll get it all done in a day, but progress is progress.

Seems that doing my studio room re-energized us to tackle the other home renovation projects. We have a long way to go, but I feel very happy.

Friday, June 02, 2006

reflections on the creative process

I was reading The Creative License this morning and got to the part about resistance. This is something I've had LOTS of experience with! My friend Dawn and I were talking about it the other day, and between our conversation and Danny Gregory's book, I got some reminders.

First of all, for me, I absolutely focus on product more than process. That is not a good thing. I worry about "ruining" a piece I'm working on, and it holds me back from really letting go. Drawing is the same; unless I can get a great drawing, I'm not interested. I'm more interested in the outcome, not in what I'm doing in the moment. I feel bored sometimes when I draw, and we all know that boredom is a cover for all sorts of things; anger and fear being the big two. I'd have to go with fear in this case. I realized there's no way in HE-double hockey sticks I'm going to draw out in public right now. People are going to want to look at what I'm doing...horrors!!

On my upcoming trip to France I'll be bringing a journal, watercolors, and pens, and I plan on drawing wherever, whenever, there. Maybe it seems less intimidating because I won't know people there or speak their language, so if they think my drawings suck, they can say so without me understanding them!

Anyway, in other news I just faxed an application to a yarn shop here in Phoenix called Jessica Knits. It's a fabulous shop; I absolutely love to go there, and they're looking for people to work part or full-time. So I threw my name in the hat. We'll see what comes of it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

new art from the new studio

Today I had the luxury of working in the studio almost all day. Heaven! I worked in my journal instead of on the painting I started, because I just felt like playing. This is one journal page I did. She may need more, but I'm letting her sit and see if she speaks to me.

This is the second page. The color didn't scan particularly well, but you get the general idea. I like parts of both of these pages, but am not sure about the whole page as one piece. I'll have to look at them later. I think I've been staring at them too long.

During lunch today, I took a look Anahata Katkin's blog (wonderful, creative, colorful eye candy), and saw one of her links, Ashes and Snow. I decided to check it out. Oh my God. I can't put into words how powerful this site is. It's an art site; photography, music, and video combined. It was like looking at the Infinite. I was so moved by the beauty of what I saw that I wept. And folks that know me well know I don't cry easily. I strongly suggest you take a look; it will inspire you and crack your heart open.

I met my friend Dawn yesterday afternoon at Starbuck's and we worked on some knitting and crocheting. She brought in finished baskets that she crocheted from a pattern that we both purchased last year at Churchmouse Yarns and Teas on Bainbridge Island, WA. What a great store!

Anyway, she inspired me to start my own basket. So I spent last night watching the Ghost Hunters marathon on the Sci-Fi channel (I was of course by myself as my honey was working some overtime..not my smartest decision!) and crocheting my basket. I'm still working on it, but once it's done, I'll post it up here. Dawn had the great idea of adding some crocheted flowers to the edges of the basket; I think I may try that.

I've really been enjoying crochet. It's something I've never done before, so it's really novel for me and I'm feeling a little on the edge of a new obsession. Pull me back!

Ok, it's time to clean up and move on to some other things needing to be done.