Friday, December 31, 2010

A Month in Photographs - December


December has been a very creative and fulfilling month.  I took someone advice, and just jumped into my art journaling.  It's been very "freeing" and I love doing it.  The two books I'm using (Photo 1) are my Sketchbook Project 2011 book (left) and my Story Teller-turned-journal (right.)  Here are two of my latest spreads (Photo 3 & 6),  and one of my earlier pages (Photo 5.)  I have to postmark the Sketchbook by January 15th - it travels back to New York and then "tours" the country before returning to the Brooklyn Art Library.  I'll write a little about that project later.  We moved the big wood table into the passageway (Photo 7) between the living room and the workroom, so we could fit the Christmas tree by the front window (Photo 2.)  So the already tiny workroom is even smaller.  I'm using the metal table in the corner (Photo 4) for my work table - DH found it and dragged it into the house last year.  Didn't like it at first, but I've taken it over and it feels just right!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reflecting on the year - 2010

January 2010 began with my new passion, making handmade books.  I sold two journals in February.  Very encouraging!  My grand total of Etsy sales for the year was ten  - not much to write home about.  But I  stayed busy with my blog, averaging 18 posts a month. 

In June, I stopped my weekly artisan interviews - which had been going on for two years!  Instead, I started another series, The Artist’s Way.  Everyone who reads this blog know about The Artist’s Way.  The tasks include a lot of introspection, writing every morning, and taking yourself out (at least once a week) on an Artist’s Date.  By August, I was papermaking on the back porch.  I started reading about art journaling at this time, but was still too afraid to commit myself.  When it got too cold to work outside, I moved back inside and paid more attention to the art of art journaling.  

So what happened this year, that moved me from jewelry making to bookmaking to journaling?  I decided to look back through my blog to see if there was something that caught my attention.  And do you know what - it was The Artist's Way!  As Julia Cameron says in her intro, “Do not look for dramatic - or traumatic - change.  The shift you will experience will be substantial, but it will come to you in many tiny increments.”  How did she know what was going to happen to me?  Was it just a coincidence, synchronicity?  Whatever happened, it wasn’t until now, writing this post, that I see how much her book affected me.
       
In particular:  On Week Seven, I took myself to the bookstore on an “Artist’s Date.”  I went to my favorite section, the magazines.  It was then when I saw Art Journaling for the first time.  Never noticed it before... I was in heaven.  I might not have bought it if I’d realized it was going to cost me $16.  But I did and now I can’t wait until January 1st, to get my next issue!

But what about my business, Storybeader?  Sorry to say, 1000markets closed down.  I really liked that venue.  And I got kicked out of selling in the museum store because of a "conflict of interest" (working there.)  The Firehouse Art Center in Norman is the only bricks and mortar place where I‘m selling.  And of course I have Etsy.

My first business decision for the upcoming year: keep only my journals and paper goods online and use my Treasury Necklaces for bricks and mortar sales (hopefully).  We’ll see how that works.  So I’ll be having a big jewelry sale on Etsy, to clear out the inventory.  30% off.  Stop by for some really good bargains in January.

In closing, I want to thank all my Etsybloggers team members for their support and friendship they’ve shown me over the year.  And thank you to whoever introduced me to The Artist’s Way.  You changed my life.  Daisy Yellow and Journal Girl, you are the two who’ve helped me get started with art journaling.  I love your work and you‘ve taught me so much. If you’re interested in art journaling (and I know you’re out there, by your comments), check out my new listing for art journaling blogs and other inspirational sites, on my left column.  And visit/join me in the Art Journaling group on Ning.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

List it Tuesday 12/28 - tootsie roll pops

Did you know there are only five flavors of tootsie roll pops?  It wasn't till I sat down and started cutting up the wrappers that I realized this.  And pomegranate?  I was wondering what those funny looking red wrappers were...
(update: DH found another flavor in the bunch, raspberry!)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

So This is Christmas

"A very Merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear."
   - John Lennon
Thank you to everyone who stops by and visits me in storyland.  Hoping your holidays are nice and the New Year will be a better one for all.  Peace on Earth.  {:-Deb

Thursday, December 23, 2010

unexpected presents


Since my birthday is next month, Mom asked me if I would like a combined Chanukah/birthday present.  "I don't want anything big."  says I.  "Haven't bought any new clothes in a while, but I don't really want any.  Can't think of anything off hand."  But it didn't take long for me to remember something I've been dreaming of for some time now.  Adobe Photoshop.  I wouldn't think of asking mom for the regular software, but a lot of you have said good things about Elements.  That's what I've been thinking of getting.... sometime later, when I can afford it without feeling bad about spending the money.  And that time has come!  Thanks Mom!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

almost wordless wednesday - stamped eggs


I saw this carton of eggs on the counter, and just had to take a photo.  
DH thinks I'm nuts - I thought it was special... {:-D

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

List it Tuesday 12/21 - Tangles

 I’ve signed up for the Tangle pattern emails.  Have a hefty bunch in a gmail folder.  There are so many available, and new ones being invented all the time.  

I decided to make a list of my favorite designs, and start one at a time.  The zanella is very geometric and I needed graph paper to stay evenly spaced.  My routine is to print out the directions, and doodle while DH watches tv.  

This is my latest creation, called BLT JOOS.  It was very easy, no graph paper necessary.  I used a very, very old ink pen that I've been carrying around with me!  The next thing I need is a simple drawing to put the tangles into.  One thing at a time...


You can get Tangle patterns by email too.  Just visit their homepage.

List It Tuesday was started by Aimee at Artsyville ; she's not posting this week, but don't miss her blog next week. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp - Week #13

We have come to the final week of Holiday Boot Camp.  There are a few things being talked about here.  One is shipping.  I used to have free shipping but realized I was actually loosing money.  I don't mind paying for shipping and I expect others not to either.  If you are using free shipping, then you should increase the cost of your products.  But who wants to pay more!  


This weekend I sold one of my handmade artist journals.  The buyer wanted it before Christmas and she was willing to pay the extra cost.  So I measured my book, jumped over to the USPS website, and found the correct priority mail box.  It was expensive, but she was agreeable.  I made a reserve listing for the cost of postage - it was very easy for the both of us.

Dropped the package off this morning.
Another thing discussed were ways of remembering what succeeded and what didn't.  I've never heard of futureme.org, a site were you can write yourself a letter to the future.  Maybe this would be handy, but for me, I'd rather write it in my work journal, and remember... I think. 


If you missed participating in Boot Camp this year, Danielle is already making plans.  We all took a survey, to help her improve for next year.  We were asked if we received any more views/heart/sales.  I don't think so, but it kept me thinking.  I want to thank you all of your who read my posts.  It means a lot to me when I see people commenting.  {:-Deb

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December Featured Etsyblogger - Pruitt Creations

I admire my fella etsybloggers, who keep their shops and blogs running.  I know it's hard work!  Our December featured etsyblogger has THREE shops open!  All at the same time!  Like many innovative people, Linda works with various mediums and uses difference shops for selling her creations.  A technique I've considered for a long time, but don't think I have the stamina!

Her first shop is called pruitthandicrafts, which she opened at the end of 2008.  As Linda says, "I love fabrics and like to quilt.  I am not a purest quilter, but like color and whatever hits my fancy."  I've always wanted to quilt, but it takes so long!  And requires a lot of patience!  Linda was my Journal Swap Mate back in March, and I wrote a blog post about my favorite items in her shop.  But now there's more!

She decided to take her love of color and experiment with beads.  In June 2009, Linda opened her jewelry shop, Pruitt Designs.  I love color and beads too, so I know exactly where she's coming from.  Her shop is always full of jewelry; right now there are over 60 items for sale!  Here's some with good old holiday cheer.

I guess with all this going on, she needed a place to sell off some of those craft supplies picked up along the way.  Pruitt Supply opened in July 2010.  There are patterns, yardage, "yo yos" buttons, lace and more.  I was surprised to see "FAT quarters" for sale.  WHAT?  I'm no seamstress; I didn't know what on earth that was!  So I went online to look it up (of course!)  As far as I can tell, fat quarters are quarter-yard cuts of fabric, cut wide (approx. 18" x 22".)  I love fabric and if I could clone another one of me, I'd buy a sewing machine and go crazy!  And buy some FAT quarters from Linda! 
 
The year ends for our
Featured Etsybloggers.  May  
All your dreams come true.

- storybeader

Saturday, December 18, 2010

non-team treasury challenge #10

The inspiration piece for this challenge was the Fancy Peacock Shoe Clips Set by Sofisticata.  Here's a link to her Etsy item page.  Learn more about the NonTeam Treasury Challenge here

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Story Teller journal - Happy Birthday Sadie!

Yesterday I was feeling much better... thanks for all the well wishes.  Still waiting for my book-club book from Amazon.  So I thought, why not seriously get started with my art journaling?  I bought some used books a few months ago, thinking of using one as a base for a new art journal.

My favorite from the group was called The Story Teller, a vintage collection of fairy tales.  It's a Young Folks Library book, published in 1944. I dove right in and spread gesso on some of the pages.  But the pages stuck to my wax paper when I closed and weighted the book.  s**t  Made a big mess!  I tore out those pages.  Then I remembered JournalGirl used a heat gun in her videos, so I got out my hair dryer, and it worked like a charm!  Thanks Samantha!

This took me all afternoon, looking for acrylics around the house (purple, yellow, sea blue), cutting out pictures in holiday card catalogs, making a complete mess.  Anyway, I used a pretty wolf and snow scenes, lightened up the purple background, typed some text.  The wolf reminded me of Sadie - not sure if she likes purple, but I know her mom does.  So this all fell into place.  Here's the end result:

Samantha was right, you might start out with one thing on your mind, and then your hidden thoughts change everything around.  So this is my first spread in the Story Teller art journal.  It celebrates Sadie's 10th birthday and her mom, Sharla, who just bought one of my handmade journals.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp - Week #12

This week's book camp has some last minute sales tips and planning ideas for the new year.

creative gift wrapping and gift certificates
I have to say, I like opening some packages more than others.  Do you remember the last time you enjoyed unwrapping a package from a seller?  A year ago I bought some lotto tickets from Patch, a fella  etsyblogger.  The envelope was so adorable, I kept it.


Last month, I decided to buy some extra tissue paper, along with stickers and "bonus" items to include in my packages.  Now I'm just waiting for that sale...



I did make two gift certificates, for $25 and $50.  And I'm surprised at all the hits they have received.  Sorta wondering why people are clicking on them... maybe they're looking to see how I put it together.  I'm not sure if anyone is going to buy one, but they're in my shop.  Have you ever purchased a gift certificate?  

Danielle tells you how to make your own, here.  



jump start January
Etsy sellers would benefit reading this article by marymary.  She points out some of the reasons why products will land on the front page this December and January.

pondering your plan for 2011
I have lots of fun, writing ToDo lists.  With the coming new year, I need to contemplate what I'll be tackling:
  • lose weight
  • do art every day
  •  be a better wife/daughter/teammate
Oh dear, I’m burnt out already!  But seriously, after finishing handmade gifts, I plan to spend time art  journaling this winter.  I do have one treasure necklace to make...  Then, when the weather turns nice, I will hit the porch again and pick up on my papermaking!

 One thing I promised myself to do was start my personalized marketing plan... in January.  This all started with Week 7 of the Holiday Boot Camp.  The plan was developed by Blacksburg Belle, so I'll have her url available, where you can get the worksheets and follow along with me.  I plan to make this into a series - it's easier to stay focused that way! 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

List it Tuesday 12/14 - reading list


My women’s book club meets once a month.  It’s usually others who suggest titles, but I thought I’d get prepared for our next meeting.  Multi-tasking {:-D  We all enjoy reading non-fiction; Sophia Tolstoy’s biography is slated for January.  And I definitely want to read Hilary’s autobiography.   Please add any suggestions to the comments!  

You can find the books I review every month - here.  This month we read Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel, The Lacuna.  I just finished reviewing it here.

Are you a list maker?  Post your list on Tuesday and tell us about it on List it Tuesday at artsyville
{:-Deb

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book Review - The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver

(illustrated with artwork from Etsy)
 Have you ever heard of the word lacuna before?  It has various meanings.  For example, early in the story, the cook tells Harrison to stay away from rocks on the far side of the cove.  “Leondro says the tides are complicated and the rocks on that side are dangerous, to stay over here in the shallow reef.  He wasn’t pleased to hear about the cave.  He already knew about it, it is called something already, la lacuna.  Not a cave exactly but an opening like a mouth that swallows things.”   Later in the story, we are told that lacuna is a missing piece, “the hole in a story.” The plot thickens with just one word.

 
I was told Kingsolver's writing style (in this book at least) is called Post Modernism.  What?  I’ve never heard of this before.   Post Modernism relies heavily on "fragmentation."  You can't mistake it; the story is full of many styles of writing - narration, diary entries, author notations, published articles.  Don't miss A Note on Historical References at the beginning of the book, which separates some of the fact from fiction.



I have to admit, the story wore me out.  It is full of Russian, Mexican and American politics, 20th century art, and Mexican culture. Too many themes for one book?  I kept asking myself that as I plowed through the 500+ pages of small type. 

I enjoyed the author’s character development the best; Harrison living with his mother in Mexico, his friendships with Frida Kahla and Violet Brown (factual and fiction.)  When Harrison returns to the U.S., he  settles down in Asheville.  After his writing career takes off, tensions start to grow in America.  The beginning of McCarthyism.  “Lacking the unifying slogan (“Win The War“), our opposing parties sling absurd pronouncements back and forth, which everyone pretends carry real weight.” Analogous to the United States now!

Are you an aspiring writer?  Then Harrison's explanation to Violet about writing might strike you as it did me.  "You start 'In the beginning' I told her, but it should be as close to the end as possible.  There's the trick."  Does Barbara Kingsolver use this technique herself?  I think so!  In the postscript of my paperback edition, Barbara is asked why she included certain characters in her novel.  She replied, "When I construct a novel, I back up from 'effect' to 'cause.'  I wanted to examine the American political psyche using artists as a vehicle.  My protagonist would be singled out because of his suspect past, so I had to give him a past.  It made sense for many reasons to start with the Mexican revolutionary muralists of the 1930s and end with the anti-communist censorship of the 1950s." 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

almost wordless wednesday - gifted fabric

Isn't this fabric beautiful!?   I received them from Erika, known as Nico Designs.  They are brocade and satin... I'll find out more from mom!  Since I don't have a sewing machine, she'll have to help me out (she doesn't know it yet!) I'm planning to make jewelry bags... Thanks Erika!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

List it Tuesday 12/7 - google keywords

Feeling kinda low energy, looking back through my journal, 
when I spied a page of lists from October.  
It was from my Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp post,  
Week #4.  
I was following Danielle's advice, 
and starting to track the keywords visitors were using.  
That reminds me....

"List It Tuesday" originates on Aimee's blog ,  artsyville
Come by and join us!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp - Week #11

The top story in this week's boot camp concerns the new Circles and Activity Feed on Etsy.  Sorry, but this reminds me too much of Facebook.  It just gives too much information and what I'm interested in gets lost.  I'm sharing Circles with others, but don't use the Activity Feed often.  If I didn't have my blog, I might feel differently.  And I use the Craftomania toolbar  to see who's visiting and hearting my shop and items.  It's a great tool, and I highly recommend it!  IMHO, the best use for the Activity Feed is for checking your treasury locations and seeing new items from your favorite shops!  


Other items on the boot camp checklist: 

Set up a home location on your shop page.  Done that!

Shipping deadlines... not too worried about that!  Got my supplies and the post office is nearby. 

Danielle has suggested some reading from the Etsy Success Reading List.

I've already read Don't Let You Biz Fall Apart During the Holidays which basically says to relax and don't feel guilty.  Good advice, hard to follow.

There's two other articles that look interesting:


How to Identify Your Ideal Customer

Holiday Marketing, a Few Favorite Things

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Bundle of Teasures

I don't think I've ever been in so many Etsy treasuries at one time! Which makes me very gracious to all the fabulous teams (and nonteam challenge members) that chose me to fill their windows.  Please click on the links to see more clearly all the wonderful artwork and artists who made this post possible!

My "Sea of Flowers" handmade artist notebook appeared in two treasuries!  On Wed, Palimpsestic took a bunch of shops who participated in the last non team treasury challenge and curated Bzzzz.  It so pretty with all the yellows, flowers and bees

On December 2nd, The Grass Harp, another member of the Nonteam Treasury Challange, chose my "Picture Jasper Hearted Necklace" for her treasury.  She uses gourds, wood and paper in her shop, and they are wonderful!  You definitely need to check it out.  The treasury she put together is called From the Bottom Up, since she started from the bottom of the list of participants in last week's treasury.  How sweet!

A fella First Friday Art Walk team member, Pondersaquilter, was looking at Christmas themed items for her treasury, and chose my Christmas tree.  A sweet title,  Dear Santa, I've been real good
The second appearance of my "Sea of Flowers" was curated by EWMcCall, another member of the Nonteam Treasury Challenge.  I'm thrilled to be in this treasury, called Gift Guide for the Artist

Then, this morning, I saw a new treasury, curated by my good etsybloggers teammate Edi at Memoriesforlife.  Her treasury is called EtsyBloggers Gift Guide - Under $25
Happy Holidays!  Come by Etsy and have fun shopping!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Fence Post #67 : right-of-way

There's something about while picket fences that says H-O-M-E ....


What's so great about THIS fence is that it gives the right of way to a large tree in it's pathway.  I love seeing that!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Etsybloggers Carnival - holiday gifts from the storybeader

Rose at Randomcreative posed two gift giving themes for our carnival this week:

1) Share a holiday item that you created and tell us a little bit about it. It can be something that you created for the 2010 holidays or for a past holiday season.
2) Create a holiday Etsy wish list and share it on your blog. What do you really want from Etsy this year?



A holiday item I created?  Some gifts I'm giving this year were not made by me, but were designed (in part, I must add) by me.  I know a lot of coffee drinkers, and one item going to family members are coffee cups, that I created at Zazzle.  It's a great gift idea for the holidays, and a good advertiser! 




Another item I'll be giving to a dear friend is a calendar (hope she doesn't see this blog post - if so, it's for you, JB).  This year I was involved in the Diary 2011 Project. 
The calendar was put together by artists all over the world.  I'll be keeping one for myself, and giving the other to her, because I know she'd appreciate it.  My artwork is on my birthday (January 18th) and I'm sharing my page with niche, who resides in Scotland!  I followed her url ,on the bottom of her illustration, to a British site called Folksy.  She also has a blog and is on Etsy .  This is what the page in the diary looks like:



You might not recognized my rectangle, since it's not in the living color that washi paper is known for.  But it's the back cover of my doodle book, called Cherry Blossoms.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Month in Photographs - November

A month of photographs instead of Almost Wordless Wednesday this week.  I've been trying to get myself used to drawing every day.  Here's the Chillon Tangle Pattern (1), which took a few hours to make.  The mandala (3)  took much more time, but it was relaxing.  I posted my first List It Tuesday list (8) this week - it went into my Sketchbook Project  Journal.  The week before Thanksgiving, I took a few days off work and went to see the family.  Here's all the girls (2) at the Bavinger House (5).  The owner/son took us on a tour.  Been real busy with Etsy and blogging; found a site called Treasury Challenge NonTeam, where everyone makes a treasury (4) using the same inspiration piece.  I decided to offer Treasure Necklace custom orders (6) on my blog...haven't heard from anyone yet.  But I did make a custom journal for Sharla (7).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

List it Tuesday 11/30 - celebrating the harvest

I love lists, so when I saw Aimee's weekly blog series List It Tuesday on artsyville, I was excited. 

"anyone want to play along?  i'd love the company.  scribble a list on an index card, create a list in your art journal, write a list on the back of a receipt." 

I was thinking of lists as I blogged along over the long Thanksgiving weekend.  And noticed all the people recording their blessings.  But then, just who celebrates this holiday?  Here's a list of countries, that celebrate Thanksgiving, duly noted in my sketchbook project journal.


Monday, November 29, 2010

A journal for a special friend

When Sharla asked me to make a journal for her, I was thrilled... and scared.  I wanted it to come out just right.  So I asked a few questions, and got a good idea of what she was looking for.  

It's going out today in the mail.  Since Sharla has seen it, I thought I'd let you all see it too.  Some of you will recognize the kitty bead from my treasure necklace.  I thought it was an appropriate beadmark.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp - Week #10

"Thinking about things instead of acting can seriously eat up way too much time..."  Isn't that the truth!  I read this on the Blacksburg Belle blog last Friday, a site Boot Camp led me to.  This is actually very fitting to what's been happening in my life recently.  What should I do first?  How much time should I spend on this today?  Blacksburg Belle recommends setting up a calendar on Google to keep track of things, with the ease of repeated events and notifications.   

After checking out the calendars, I decided to by-pass Google and stick with paper, though it looks fun.  I love writing out my To Do lists and being able to strike through all I’ve accomplished.  One thing I need to do is prioritize more, which is an uncomfortable thing to do.

I decided my biggest problem is, I've found so many neat sites recently that are challenging me artistically.  Actually, it’s not really a problem - it’s a very good thing.  It’s helping me establish my new direction for next year:  MORE journaling and drawing!


Artsyville is definitely one of those sites.  I love this blog!  And when I saw "List it Tuesday" on the sidebar, I was intrigued.  What better way of combining something I love to do (list making), with something I want to do (flat art)!  You’ll be seeing this cute little icon on my blog .  Why not come and join us!

Ani, a fella etsyblogger at Coffee Pot People operates another site that I have growth to love.  I’ve joined the “Friday Fence Posts” blog party and now she has another great series, Tuesday Take-out.   Here are copyright free clip art images for people to use.  I‘ve decided to pick one image every week and use it to practice my drawing skills.  This first sketch was appropriate for Thanksgiving! 

 One more site I‘ll mention, especially useful for those who like to doodle, is called Tangle Patterns.  I joined their mailing list and get new patterns about three times a week.  It’s one way of getting me off the computer and visiting with DH.  While he watched football on Thursday, I read and practiced my Chillon Pattern:


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Carved stone fetishes

 I'm wary of using the word "fetish" in describing my jewelry.  In the past, it's been kicked back, not accepted.  But let me explain.  I'm no sexual pervert!

My joy is in hand-carved objects, especially Native American stone fetishes.  The earliest fetishes were used by Zuni Indians and were naturally formed from stones.  Later, people started to carve stones to resemble people and animals.  It's believed that fetishes have both practical and spiritual powers, that they protect and assist individuals.  Fetishes are given a place of honor in the home.  Mine stand on my desk, keeping guard over my computer.

 There are two major groupings of fetishes: protective or healing animals, and hunting and prey animals.  Six Zuni fetish animals have been assigned to guard the six directions:
the mountain lion - north
the bear - west
the badger - south
the wolf - east
the eagle - sky (up)
the mole - underground (down)

Other tribes, like the Navajos, use fetishes in their dream catchers, chokers and necklaces.  I love using fetishes in my jewelry - they prompt the stories that become my necklace's haiku.  My dear black turtle fetish is the focal point of my favorite treasure necklace.  He represents the oldest symbol, Mother Earth and longevity.  Black Turtle used to guard my Etsy shop, and was my avatar.  Now I have the spine of a handmade journal, which  characterizes my other love, books.  My Turtle Treasure Necklace is in Norman, Oklahoma right now, keeping guard over my necklaces at the Firehouse Holiday Gift Gallery.  I miss him a lot.  He and his friends may sell, but I will always have his haiku and could never forget him.
 
Black turtle found the
Treasure chest, and made fast friends
With the fetish drops.

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