I am not a fan of fast food- it is one of those, "Only if you have to" type things around our house. I think though, after seeing this link, you will agree that perhaps, fast food does have some good qualities...
I think being a bit manic and easily bored by nature forces me to keep exploring and experimenting with this blog. I get email from folks saying that having the collage in the background and moody colors is a hard read while others, think the starkness of white hurts their teeth and makes their inner muse cry (artists tend to be very passionate and emotional about blank pages....) This latest version personifies my mission a bit better * I think *. I truly appreciate the folks that take the time to read my blog and comment here and there and most of all telling their friends about it- it means so much to me on so many levels.
So, here is the story behind the new change.... My artwork comes from all places- I am inspired by random things and hope others are as well. I feel equally at home curled up with a Popular Science Magazine or some Economic commentary as I do reading some artsy, crafty loverlie. The point is, art is about our personal discoveries and moments of inspiration- the clicking of a clock, beautiful achitecture, bottle caps, duct tape (okay any kind of tape in my world- seriously, it ranks right up there with funky and cool socks), the perfect blue of a robin egg, the texture of an amazing knitted scarf, a child with that impish grin because they just figured out how to unlatch the front door on their own- this my friends is what life is all about, this is the stuff that should get the gears moving in your head and reflect in your own creations.
I am not the best secret keeper when it come to surprise type things....like cool gifts. I get so excited about getting the perfect gift for someone that, I can't stand waiting to give it to them.... it is awful. I end up giving gifts all year and then stressing when the big day comes and I have nothing left to give them (especially when everyone else at the party has something and was patient and did not spill the ever lovin' beans....hello. Can you hear the thud as I smack my forehead here?) From now on, seriously, if I feel the urge to wreck the surprise, I am just going to Post Secret and get it all out of my system (daily if necessary)
So back to the point, I decided to make something REALLY cool for one of my friend's for Christmas and I told her about it ahead of time. I figured she could use it in her booth at CHA and well, it was going to be perfect......Flash forward to a destroyed box, a redone panel, a hectic pre-CHA schedule and the whole Murphy's Law thing unfolding before my eyes..... cosmic punishment for being a dork and telling her early. Needless to say, it got done and I finally photographed it so she can have a picture of what she was supposed to have um....a month ago. I will show you the big picture after CHA (and it will be in focus....)
I am so geeked to be able to announce that my DVD will be unveiled at CHA this year with PageSage.This is the first DVD specifically designed with the teen age and college folks in mind (and for those of us who were once in high school and college at some point....). It is crammed packed with innovative ways to make your stuff unique and, since it's on DVD, you can watch it as you create and pause it when you need to take a break or text that friend of yours..... kidding.
I remember when I was in high school and thinking about my Prom. I did not have the money to buy the dress I wanted and my parent's were really big on the whole "being self-sufficient thing" (secret talk for "No, I will not pay for that..." and yes, I have turned into one of "those" parents and you should the cool stuff my kids make with duct tape and random things from around the house...wink...). All my dresses were handmade, my room decor was reworked found items from the second hand store, and my playground was my grandmother's house where every room was chock filled with random goodies and art supplies galore. This DVD is designed to equip and inspire- if I did my job, you will want to take what you have learned and go make something cool.
I went through my closet today and I came across a towel that belonged to my great-grandmother. I had carefully packaged it shortly after she went to her reward and every now and then, I open the bag just to smell it. It is always a flood of memories every time I smell that towel- the conversations, the laughter, the stories, the tea cup she always put the milk in and the glazed coffee donut she ALWAYS had in the cupboard "just in case". I noticed that as I get older, I do the same things- I have random snacks on hand, a favorite detergent, stories to tell and "good cups" I bring out when folks come over unexpected. She left a legacy and well, I would hazard a guess that my children are picking up on those little quirks and will in turn reproduce them later in their lives as well.
This afternoon while driving around, my son spotted an empty chair with a coat on it so, of course we had to investigate...wink... (another legacy I suppose) It turned out that it was a Memorial to the soldiers that did not come home. The chair was empty and waiting for their return. My son said, "Mom there always needs to be a spot to remember". For me, that spot was on a shelf carefully wrapped, for others, a page in a scrapbook or a special keepsake in a place of honor. The fact is, legacies are important, stories are important, and making sure other know about them are important. My children never met their great-grandmother personally yet, she is woven in the fabric of who I am and, through me is the ONLY way they will ever know her. There is a sense of purpose here, a call to action. The timeline is not full of dates, it is full of people and their incredible stories- who better to tell your story than yourself....
Meeting folks in random places is like finding a rare book on the shelves and getting to take it home. I got an email from one of those such folks today. I should say, how I met Kristine was random- we were in a number of classes together and ended up seated next to each other for the first one and just stayed next to each other for the rest of them. As it turned out, she was the creator of the Krafty Lady Moulds and Opals embossing powders. I should say here that the moulds are so exquisite. They hold up to the torture put them through and the detail is amazing. Her opals are so rich and unlike other embossing powders when melted together, they do not become a pile of blah color melted goo- the colors bounce of each other and swirl in bright vibrant metallic bliss- I love them. Anyhoo, I got word from her today and she made me smile once again. You never know where or when your creativity will be sparked but, somehow, with interesting folks, it usually always starts with a hello....
This lovely piece was created by Helen Bradley (an amazing lady I met that very same class BTW and, I could write volumes about this insanely talented gal- no kidding...she's brilliant! ) She is an honorary DT member and this was the piece featured on Kraft Lady's website (I copied the picture directly from the site to show it here so you all know where the picture came from.....). Note that the Krafty DT will be on the Diva Lounge coming up soon- so keep an eye out for that one!
Bernie Berlin only has a few days left to reach her goal.... I thought I would introduce you to Zipper the wonder cat....
Let it be known that I was never a "cat" person. I have had dogs my entire life and with the one exception of a cat my mother had (who seriously thought he was a dog), I had no experience with "cats".
Our dog Mav died after a terribly painful battle with Pancreatitis. While he was in and out of the hospital, we came to know two kittens who were in desperate need of a home. Cats are not readily adopted and many are euthanized because of the lack of families willing to take them in. So, the day before they were to be put down, we decided they needed to come home with us.
Zipper is the most friendly and loving cat one could ever imagine AND, he is creative.... He loves to bat around the tops to water bottles and flip them up to catch them in his mouth. It is just so funny to watch. Please support Bernie and tell all your friends to donate the $10. Bernie is a woman who is the real deal and winning this contest could be one of those life changing type things for her and her organization. It is all tax deductible too. I would not have Zipper today if it were not for folks like her....
I normally do not pay attention to pop culture Hollywood stuff but, this afternoon, another bright light was extinguished way too early. Heath Ledger was someone I thought highly of. He seemed very grounded and the way he doted on his daughter, was something I thought really set him apart from many of the Hollywood types. Life is just too short any way you cut it. The object is to live each moment. May you rest in Peace Heath.
So, I love my job. I get to play with the coolest stuff on the planet (arts and crafting loverlies) and work for amazing manufacturers. Last year, one of the most memorable moments was having my Press Kit Design win the Golden Press Kit award at the Winter CHA Convention. I think the reason it meant so much to me was the fact that this was an award given by the crafting industry- a place where all the creative artsy types flock to. In essence it was a tip of the hat from my peers and well, that is pretty darn cool. I could never thank Suzanne at PageSage enough for the opportunity to work for her company in that capacity.
So, this leads me to this year's cool thing- not only am I working on a new Press Kit but, one of the coolest events ever.....A Celebrity Craft Match! Yeah, it is exactly what it sounds like....a bunch of crafting celebrities going head to head to create something random and impromptu. I am terrified. Think about the pressure here.... being surrounded by folks who think you actually know what you are doing. I cannot tell you how many "oops" populate my junk drawer- for every really cool piece, there are many "not so cool" pieces lurking in the darkness of a drawer nobody sees.... so yeah, the prospect of folks watching as I be "spontaneously creative" could be scary- real scary......
It's a deal! Bluegrass Publishing will be publishing my book. All the details will be revealed at CHA in a few more weeks....stay tuned. This opportunity is a dream come true for me. Bluegrass has been active behind the scenes signing new artists and looking for new ways to expand their library. I caught a glimpse of their vision at the last CHA in Chicago and after chit chatting about some things I really feel passionate about- namely bringing art to kids, a chord was struck. Exciting times, exciting times.
It has been announced.....who will be at Art Unraveled! It is a great honor to be included in the list of invited instructors for the 2008 Art Unraveled Mixed Media Retreat this August. I can't wait to go and attend classes myself let alone teach! I think one of the most amazing things about retreats in general, is the free exchange of ideas and the organic chemistry that happens when a bunch of creative types get together. You can count on this "Mommarazzi" taking lots of pictures and sharing with you the behind the scenes. To be inspired, go to the AU site and start clicking on the artists to learn more about them and their work- seriously, amazing eye candy!
So, in keeping with my mantra that art should be able to be used and have purpose and that everyday things around the house can easily be "MacGyvered" and be useful bits in your handiwork, the projects I designed for Art Unraveled are not only things you will use but, they use salvaged and untraditional materials recycled and given new life.
Beyond the fact that I have a crafter's butt, I actually do have junk in my trunk.... Confession time....my husband's car trunk is filled with my secret stash of latest purchases.... I figure it is the last place he will look. So, I have felt gulity on and off about the fact that I hide things in my husband's car until it is safe to hide them in plain view in the studio (where there is no way he can ever figure out if something is new or old) but, on the way back from the doctor (our son is sick) I saw this painted on the back side of a trash truck....the pang of guilt came back..... my husband laughed- if he only knew how I read into it's meaning...wink...
I popped in at the Scrap Genie and found an intriguing post about sneak peeks at CHA... Read it here. I love this site by the way and am a total addict.... I just added Becks X Link in the Eye Candy Section of the Sidebar but, I have been reading her insight for sometime- it is a really wonderful site for all crafty types not just scrappers BTW. Thank you to the ADC folks for the heads up!
I, as much as I get giddy about seeing the latest and greatest (the fact that I popped in on the Scrap Genie in the first place- I am one of those folks who love to have the inside scoop- no doubt), think it is a huge mistake for manufacturers to release their new stuff early and not have anything else at CHA..... I know I sound like a complete hypocrite here but, in my defense, I am one of those folks who signs all those Non-Disclosure agreements before I make samples using the prototypes for conventions like CHA- can you imagine how hard it is to keep a secret when you get to play with the COOLEST stuff on the planet (for up to a year in advance)? I am one of those folks who totally loves seeing the reaction of folks at CHA when they see the handiwork for the first time!
So, I digress, why do I think sneak peeks are bad? The main reason is that, store owners and buyers need to feel loved- stealing their thunder by leaking to the public their intentions as a manufacturers and showing off what is behind the curtain ahead of time hurts store owners in the long run. Now, I know many manufacturers think, well, ads in traditional forms aren't working, online sales are up, web 2.0 makes the customer more informed so, I need to follow trends and go where the money is right.....? Hello! Where do you think true scrapping, crafting, arty type junkies are made? They are not created in online forums where new techniques and projects are copied and stolen and recycled and rehashed...they happen in the classrooms where folks have the ability to watch it all unfold, where questions are in real time and the organic process is experienced. Once a student gets the taste of that arty bug in a real world experience, they go off seeking like minded junkies to chit chat with (folks that already own everything there is to own and are total and complete junkies)..... I love online communities and have made many dear and near friends but, I never went seeking them first, I looked for them after I became interested in something..... Another thing to marinate on is the fact that many of my students (the customer in the stores and conventions) work in front of a computer screen all day, where do you think they go to create....hint, it isn't online, it is in person face to face. Back to the subject.
By disenfranchising the buyers (store owners) by skipping over them and going to the end consumer, manufacturers are making the stores irrelevant and, although there may be an instant reward, the longterm result will be a shrinking of consumer base (why, because there will be no place for them to go to learn about new stuff and become hooked on something cool when the stores are forced to close because their lack of sales and traffic....)
CHA was created to unite small manufacturers and their wonderful new stuff with buyers. What happens when the buyers decide it isn't worth the investment to show up any longer? Who will be the talking piece to those who are new to the industry (you know, all those newbies who have never crafted in their lives but stumbled into a craft store to buy some glue for their kid's Science project....)? Showing off the new stuff to existing addicts has merit but, it is a customer base with a set number of folks. Unless new folks are added to the mix, the likelihood that that set number of folks will continue to purchase at the same levels is just not very high. As folks craft for any length of time, they quickly acquire all the toys and they become easily bored. They tend to buy less and less and do a lot more looking at projects and samples they can make their own with the stuff they already have on hand. Sneak Peeks bite the hand that feeds and even though I LOVE seeing it all ahead of time it is like skating on the sharp edge of a double edge sword.
Yup, it is offical, This blog is listed as a delightful blog. So, I am pretty darned geeked about the fact that I can add the Delightful Blog Link to the ole side bar. I have been introduced to some wonderful blogs through the Delightful Blogs site and as a business owner, I am always looking for new ways to gain more exposure for my work. What I was impressed by with the Delightful Blog format, was the fact that the blogs are screened before they are listed. I think too, because there is a nominal fee, is weeds out all the folks who are not serious about their blogs and websites. I am not saying that getting something for free isn't a good thing but, to remind folks that you sometimes get what you pay for. I am thrilled about the new link and have noticed the traffic increasing....cool in my book.
Holy Smokes Batman! Suzanne over at PageSage just broke the news that Carol Duvall has won the lifetime achievement award from CHA.
It's weird, When I mentioned this to a friend of mine today she said exactly what I was thinking..... "She should have won that long ago...." And, she isn't even a "crafter". She told me about the fact that she remembered watching Carol on TV here in Michigan and knew that whatever Carol was showing, would later turn up as an art project in her class at grade school. I remember reading her newsletters that my Grandmother received and seeing her on television every once in a while growing up; I always wanted to make what she had done and I can attribute my love affair with the hot glue gun to her influence. Carol and her work is by definition a living legacy. I am sticking my neck out here by saying this but, I do not think we would have a multi-billion (with a B folks) dollar arts and crafts industry if it were not for Carol- I know many of the "celebrities" in the industry today owe their careers to their stints on the Carol Duvall Show. Crafting moved beyond the craft fairs and Church sales into the mainstream and folks like me who design "crafting" objects and projects for magazines and manufacturers as a profession, could get paid for simply following their addiction (mine being stamping, mixed media and paper....) Little tea cozies became cool and creative expressions appreciated. So many have tried to follow in her foot steps but, there is only one Queen of Crafts and that my friends, is Ms. Carol Duvall.