Friday, July 30, 2010

A Stitch Just in Time...

... Saved my mind.

It's been another hectic week, but busy for good reasons.

The day after my shop was featured in a Storque article, I made it to the home page of etsy!

Sales were unreal (for me anyway, maybe it's normal for other etsy sellers!) and I could not keep up with relisting and packing items for sale quick enough.

I hope everyone's package contains what they bought!

That and kids and life and the Corder Picnic carnival meant that I went to bed late every night and was up early every morning.

I still have to bake two pies for the Corder Picnic pie stand.

And yet, when I picked up Patty's stitchery today to add my last few stitches to it, the stress of the week went away,
for a few minutes.
I hadn't drawn anything out, but just made up the design as I went, using stitches I hadn't tried since I was 13 or 14 when I did my first embroidery project (a kit).
I surprised even myself.
I think Patty will like it.
Today it mails to Linda.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

15 Minutes of Fame

Thank you all who left me words of encouragement on my last post.

I had not intended to post a whine fest-

it's just how it turned out.

But now I have some good news~!
(that rainbow was a sign of positive things to come!)

My library pocket cards were featured in "Etsy Finds",

a regular feature on Etsy's blog, The Storque.
Amazing what a little exposure can do for one's shop!
I've had 7 orders so far and counting.
That's just today!
I just might sell out of a some items (a good problem to have!)
Meanwhile, I am cooking up new inventory.
Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Is It a Sign?

I just caught this today after a thunderstorm.
A huge double rainbow.
It has been a rough week.
A power outage Tuesday night
(due to a storm).
Air conditioning trouble Wednesday
(power outage related).
Kid-related stress on Thursday
(they expect me to drop everything to meet their needs).
Friday was okay, just tiring.
Today, the storm was a welcome event.
It seemed to wash away the junk of this past week.
And the rainbow was amazing.
Next week has got to be better!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Artsy Organizing

I found this totally cool muffin tin at the thrift store a few weeks ago for a pittance.
HAD to have it because I have seen so many other artists' studios with this kind of artsy organizing. I had put a few metal bits and bobs in it and set it on a precarious pile of something so of course it got knocked over and my bits and bobs went flying all over.
So much for organizing!

Tonight while Rebecca was whiling away time, waiting for "her turn" on my computer, she played with a pile of pre- wrapped rubber stamps I have ready for shipping. I have a few of these rotating date stamps for sale in my etsy.

It takes a 5 year old to organize me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Prize Winning Photos

My daughter Victoria is 13 years old.
She took the photos in this post (including this self portrait, right).
This is Victoria's 3rd year doing photography as a 4H project and I think she has the basics mastered. These 3 photos all won blue ribbons at our local district level. Tomorrow we find out if one might have possibly won a purple ribbon to go to the Missouri State Fair for exhibiting. We both agree that the cone flower above has the best chance.

So you know how awful my non-garden is (see last post!). Where did we go for beautiful blooms and photo- worthy landscapes? To Confederate Park. Probably Higginsville's best kept secret. It is the most peaceful, gorgeous, immaculately kept park in Lafayette County.
And there is no cost to drive its smooth, asphalt paths (like gliding on water), visit the Confederate Cemetary or to tour the Chapel.
There are 3 different ponds where fishing is allowed, a playground for kids and picnic tables scattered about encourage el fresco meals.
I have never seen litter.
The grounds keepers take great pride in the park and visitors respect it.

We went to the cemetary on at least 3 different days (maybe 4!) to get the perfect shadows and lighting. Victoria retook photos of the same headstones at different horizons and angles to get the most compelling pictures.

It was all worth it.

The judge who interviewed her about her photos had to be impressed with her subject matter. It wasn't the usual pet photos or poorly lit or badly cropped images hurriedly chosen last minute from 50 or so casual photos on a digital camera. (We did those in the past!)

I am very proud of Victoria.


Poscript: Stopped by the middle school gym today where the 4H projects are displayed and was disappointed to find that Victoria did not win a further award. She said the judges weren't very good (she has to say that!), but I could see that the competition was much stiffer this year. The 5 photos that won purple rosettes (chosen from about 100 submissions!) were definitely deserving.

Never give up, never surrender!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Redneck Garden Faeries

I admire blog posts of beautiful garden vigniettes--
flowers growing with seemingly wild abandon, but obviously carefully tended.
There are artistically assembled found objects and rusted pieces that give the viewer the pleasant feeling that fantastical creatures dwell in that garden.
Now my garden is just wild and abandoned.
The mystical beings muck about in the weed beds driving monster trucks.
Large, heavy construction machinery is forgotten in the pursuit of fishing or lounging on the couch (watching NASCAR races) and drinking beer, I am guessing.

Every age and make of vehicle is kept, because someday it will be fixed and made to run again (good intentions).
Or the vehicles are kept "for parts".
The faeries in my garden are decidely not mystical,
although they are charming in their own, rough-around-the-edges, way.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Good Things Come...

...Wrapped in a ridiculous amount of colored tissue, ribbons and trims...

...Plus a few pages of Trader Joe's "Swimsuit Issue".

I had sent Patty junk silver plate labeled with the words I wanted each piece to "say".

She sent back art pieces with my tags altered!
It's magic!
Her husband, Mr. Magpie, has a way with a hammer. And Patty is a prolific artist who has a way with presentation.
I have been telling her for months that she needs to open an etsy shop.
I mean, wouldn't you love to have some cutlery like this of your own, or any of her other art or stuff?
(if you know Patty, you are nodding "yes")
Now, go visit the Magpie's Nest and add your two cents.
The chant goes like this,
"et-sy shop, et-sy shop, et-sy shop."
I am past being subtle!

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Inner child

My 5 year old, Rebecca, is my alter ego. My mentor. My muse. She also "a"muses me.
She makes some of the greatest art. It totally inspires me. She doesn't worry about scale, or whether her people have arms and legs. If they are rolling skating, they have legs, because the skates have to fit on something, but arms are optional. The arms don't tell the story like the feet do. Makes perfect sense!

So, for the QB5's (see their blogs in my side bar) current swap (stitchery) I decided to go decidedly primative and took a cue from Rebecca. This is the sign-in book I designed with Rebecca's help. She drew the characters, and I embellished with stitchery.

The thing is, that I am having such a great time stitching on paper, that I am not getting to my piece of linen very quickly. I may be onto something, but the swap can't be held up for my personal experiments.
It's something to pursue later.
And I have a very long "to do" list.
So here is my parting advice... in a creative rut? Go see what your kids or grandkids have on their drawing boards.
Only use arms or legs when they are necessary for the story you're telling, and put a smile on everyone's face.
Also, don't do a lot of sketching.
Just draw.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rooms With Views or Ode to a Closet Artist

Mary Hendon was a quiet woman who mostly kept to herself. She took trips to Lexington, MO (20 minutes drive from her house) to research old architecture and local history. I heard rumors about her talent as an artist and that she had painted murals all over her house. But when I would meet her and hint at visiting to view her works, she was not forthcoming with an invitation. Seems she painted strictly for her own enjoyment and did not care if anyone ever saw her work. She did not need public attention nor praise.

Mary died last year, from a cancer she had been battling for awhile. She died just about two weeks after her husband, who was also terminal with cancer. A college aged grandson had inherited the house and lived in it briefly. Last week my in-laws bought the house, and finally, I was able to see what everyone talked about (how is it that everyone got to see the house but me?)

The kitchen is set in Italy, with a view of a villa from a wrought iron veranda (the broom leaning against the wall is real). A small lizard scales the wall above the pantry.

The servants' back staircase leading from the kitchen is lined with a dark, story book forest featuring Little Red Riding Hood peering timidly from behind a tree on one side, while a troll/ gnome, snoozes beneath a tree on the other side.

Downstairs, just beyond the front foyer, is the impressive hallway that leads to a bathroom, mudroom and kitchen at the back of the house. The hall is made even more majestic painted up to look like a castle's interior.

The castle seems to be in a tropical location as witnessed by the palm tree "outside". Maybe belonging to a pirate king?

The painted masonery is SO realistic under the stairs that I expect to feel the crevices when I reach out to touch the wall.

A yacht sails up the stairs.

This faux mirror fools me each time I walk up the stairs. I come up to the to landing, expecting to see my reflection, and then don't!

The scenery up the staircase is a little blank, but the architectural arch is quite impressive. I cannot imagine the insane scaffolding that had to be constructed on the stairs to reach that wall for painting!

On the upper landing is yet another window with an unfinished view. Mary's home was definitely her personal castle. I would have liked to have seen this place with her furnishings in it!
The amazing thing is that this beautiful craftsman house exists in a tiny po-dunk, Missouri town with a population of less than 500 (I live just 3 blocks away).
In a shed behind the grand house, among a bunch of old library discard books, I found a coffee table book that had to be Mary's inspiration.
Weird Rooms by Mal and Sandra Sharpe.
Photos by Alexander Vertikoff.
I have it for sale in my etsy shop.