Thursday, April 30, 2009

And the Winner is.....

Time to announce the winner of the free alarm clock. Doing a drawing was fun! I wrote each of your names on post it notes, put them in my favorite little bowl, mixed 'em up and picked...
And the winner is.....
Congratulations Claire O'Connor! You'll hear from me soon with details. And thanks to all of you for entering the contest and for following my blog. 
I know I've been remiss about posting, there's been an awful lot going on (a very long story). I'm leaving this morning for the East Coast and when I get back I'll post again. Thanks again to all of you!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Embracing Uncomfortable

I don't know about you, but often when I see art that inspires me I want to try it. I see a gorgeous handmade purse and I want to create my own, I walk by a booth of amazing lampwork beads and I dream of making them, I open a magazine and there's an image of an amazing batik and I go the art store and price dyes and wax. My list is long: I want to etch glass, design fabric and gift wrap, make jewelry, learn bookbinding and make journals, oh, then there are the birdhouses, garden gates, baskets, kids clothes, scarves, hats and other creations swarming in my over zealous mind. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. But here's the thing. I am going to admit this out loud for the first time: I don't enjoy doing things I'm not good at. And to make matters worse, I'm impatient with the learning process and don't generally enjoy classes. Not good, huh? Obviously, this kind of stops me from moving forward, and before you say anything, I'm well aware that I'm missing out. 
I have always said if I have another business I will name it "The Impatient Artist" because I want to do it right now, skip the learning curve and create something beautiful the first time. I want immediate results or I get frustrated and give up. 
I ought to know better by now. Not just because I'm a grown up, but also because the few times I have allowed myself to do this have always been a great experience. (See? I'm learning)
A few years ago I finally decided I just HAD to try making beads and found a local lampworking class. I took two 8-week sessions and worked hard at it. My beads? Well...they were terrible. Week after week I watched the other students progress to make perfect round beads, with the holes dead center. Mine were lumpy and uneven. No matter how I tried they always looked wonky and crooked and amateur. But I loved my little rejects  - they made me happy. I keep them all in a little bowl and I think they are perfect just as they are. 
I've always accepted my limitations with what I imagined to be grace. When I saw portraits, paintings and drawings of people that took my breath away I'd dream of doing my own but I'd think "I can't draw people, realism is not my strength. But that's okay, I have my own fun style." Bullpucky. Truth be told, I yearned to try but didn't want to be the one in the back of the life drawing class watching other people create masterpieces while I struggled. So I just kept doing what I did well and sat in my safe little comfort zone. Yep. I was a big fat chicken.
But then something happened.  A friend showed me a huge book of vintage black and white portraits - photographs from the 1800's. My fascination with vintage photographs is worth saving for another post, but I just have to tell you that these images sparked my creative fire like nothing had in a long time. Something came over me. It was like the first time I saw a box of crayons. 
I just HAD to. 
I heard them whispering to me, but I shook off the "I can'ts" and grabbed my sketchbook. If you're an artist I don't need to explain where time went. There was none, I was just off in that zone, lost, wrapped up in the process and not thinking about good or bad or how to. Pencil hit paper and took me away. A new passion was born and I spent that summer sitting on the deck sketching. And frankly, I love them all. Enough to even show you a few.
So did I learn my lesson and shake off my fears? 
Did I get over myself and take a life drawing class? 
Um. No. 
But today's a new day. I made a vow to myself to Cut That Out Right Now Young Lady. Dance with discomfort, enjoy the first messy versions and and relax a little. Get over myself. And I've recorded it here so it's official, with you all as my witnesses. 
Don't let me off the hook. 

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Passions and Possibilities Project

Just a reminder that I'll be the guest on Sue Oliver's Blog Talk Radio Program, The Passions and Possibilities Project which airs Wednesday April 15th at 3:00-4:00 pm PST. 
I hope you'll join us live, when the show starts, by either dialing into the show’s conference line (347) 205-9038 or linking into the streamlining live video at the website link above. We welcome your questions and comments during the show. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My assistant

Working with two cats who wander in and out of the studio all day is both a joy and a challenge. Ramona stops in to ask for attention and snacks, making sure I can't miss her as she walks across the keyboard, shedding all over the desk. 
Sadie comes in out all day, constantly talking - loud and insistent. She always seems a bit frantic, like Lassie trying to alert me that someone has fallen in the well. Eventually, and without fail, she tries to squeeze onto my lap - pushing herself between me a the desk, which leaves her squished up against me and makes typing impossible. But as soon as I give in and decide to give up on work and spend quality time with her she hears or sees something, and flies off my lap to investigate. 
The other day I was about to pack up an order and turned to grab the packing list and Sadie seized the moment to make herself at home. All I could so was give in and grab the camera. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

More Hot Tips!

It was April Fools Day when I got an email from an editor at AOL Home, saying they were going to feature my Barack Around the Clock in an upcoming story on "Obama Home Decor". So I waited all day from someone to confess to the joke. Turns out it's the real deal. I'll be posting here when the feature goes live late this month! 
In the meanwhile, here's a sneak peak of some of this month's Hot Tips for Artists Newletter. If these interest you be sure to go to and scroll to the bottom of any page to subscribe. 
Alison Lee's CRAFTCAST™ takes advantage of the podcast format to deliver weekly content, covering the latest information in the crafting industry. Listeners get personal stories and advice from a wide variety of artists and crafters. Alison also offers live online Masterclasses covering all sorts of topics and techniques for artists in all mediums. CRAFTCAST™ mission is to inspire and nurture the creative spark within each listener. And don't forget to look for my live online class on Selling Your Crafts on April 8th!
Have you always dreamt of seeing your jewelry on a celebrity or having your product in a gift bag at an award show? The best resource for celebrity contact information is Jordan McAuley's For $27 a month you get the agent, manager, publicist, production company, and charitable cause with phone, fax, and email addresses for over 57,000 celebrities and public figures. Jordan also shares updates on Twitter about how to get publicity using celebrities @JordanMcAuley.
I'm not giving away the whole Hot Tips Newsletter here - but just one more: is a great new resource for any working artist. Larry Hornung, founder of Crafts Business magazine, really knows the business, and created the site as a home for craft artists, collectors, gallery owners, show promoters and anyone else interested in the crafts industry. The basis of CSN is a free exchange of ideas, information and opinion. It's a practical site offering resources, news and advice for craft professionals and those on their way. 
The next Hot Tips for Artists Newsletter will come out next week with these tips and more. To subscribe you simple send an empty email to and use "Hot Tips, please!" as your subject heading or go to any page at