Friday, September 17, 2010

Feature Friday - New CreatioNZ

There hasn't been much going on over here on this blog...I apologize for the lapse. I've been waiting to hear back about the start date on my new job, and I must say, I've been a little bit lazy because of that. Call me a turtle, but I had to retreat into my shell for a while. The good news is I start my new job on Monday! Hip Hip Hooray! It is nice to feel secure again, though I'm sure it will be a bit of an adjustment gettting back into the swing of things. This means, of course, the blog will probably be a little bare for a while, but don't worry...I'll still be sewing, even if it is infrequently. :) Of course, you can always check out my new weight loss blog, Skinny or Bust! I've already lost 4 pounds! Come join me on my challenge!

Today is Friday, which means a new feature. This week, we get to know Jocelyn from New CreatioNZ. New CreatioNZ is full of wonderful pieces of art incorporating Jocelyn's photography in many creative ways. The shop features magnets, paintings, cards, jewelry, stationary, banners and more! Head on over to check it out, but first, the interview.
How did you get into crafting?
I have loved to create since childhood. I have dabbled in all sorts of crafts but always come back to painting. Photography is a newer passion but just as much fun!
How did your Etsy shop come to be?
I heard of Etsy through a friend. I had never done online selling before so it was a big step to open my shop!
What is your favorite part about being creative?
I love that it is never the same. Every new painting or photograph is different and that keeps me inspired!

Are you a full time crafter or do you have a "day job?"
I have a job at my children's school as a teachers aide. My hours are the same as theirs which fits in very well, plus I get the holidays off with them. It does mean though, that my time for creating is limited.
If someone were to buy you a birthday gift on Etsy, what 3 words would they use in their search?
Jewelery, stationery, or handbag.
How do you create your designs?
I cannot start a painting without inspiration. It can come through a song, a scripture or an experience I have had. My paintings will often turn out very different to what I first imagined. With my photos I try to find new ways of using them. Examples are my cards, digital stationery, boxes and my latest, calendars.

Favorite spots for inspiration?
I have a lovely beach just down the road from where I live. I take my dog for a run there most mornings and watch the sun rise. I never get used to it. Each day God shows me another amazing facet of his creation. I am so humbled by what he has created for me to enjoy and if I can show even a small part of his glory in my art, then I am happy.
Who inspires you?
If you had to choose one item in your shop as a signature piece, what would it be and why?
This is so hard. But this is one of my recent paintings inspired by a walk on the beach one morning. It reminds me of what God has blessed me with

Thanks so much to Jocelyn for taking part in Feature Friday! You can also check out her blog to find out more! Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Purple Polka Dots

I found some time to sew this weekend, between apple picking, trail walking, and posting on my new blog, Skinny or Bust! I made this cute little Purple Polka Dot bear for a high school friend who had a baby....perhaps not so recently, as I've put this project off for a bit with all the craziness that has been going on.This one is a mini, since she is for an infant, and I added some new purple ribbon around her neck. What do you think about this fabric?

I have just enough fabric left to make one more mini, so I will be adding a Purple Polka Dot bear to my shop. I'm going to do an elephant next, thanks to the suggestions from my last post! And tonight I am making a butternut squash soup! Yummy!

This is a short post today...still waiting for my start date. I'm going to work on the elephant tomorrow, since (hopefully) I won't have many more days filled with extra time to work on projects. I'll be taking the bus system home from the new job, which will take about 2 1/2 hours to get home...with transfers, wait time, etc. I've been practicing my driving, so it won't be long before my commute is under 30 minutes! least heading home. I can't wait to drive on my own. Not because I love driving (because I really don't!), but because of all the freedom that comes with it. It's kinda silly, but going to grocery store and starting dinner on my own is something I'm kind of looking forward to. Lol. What are you looking forward to this fall?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

News and Fresh Starts

I started my weight loss blog! My goal is to lose 52 pounds in 52 weeks not by dieting, but by eating right, portioning, staying active and making the foods I love in a way that cuts sugar and fat. I'll write about what I eat, post recipes I try, track my progress, and hope to hear about your journey as well! Come follow Skinny or Bust! and share what you're doing to get/stay healthy.

I heard from the university today about the question I had with licensing. I am currently licensed in Early Childhood: Prek-2 for students with and without disabilities. In order to be licensed as a Reading Specialist, I must also be licensed in Elementary (through 6th grade) as well. I may be able to get my license after a few courses in the program, or I may need a few additional courses. But, by the time I am finished with my master's degree, I will hold two professional teaching licenses, an initial license for Reading Specialist, as well as my license for lead teacher preschool, infant/toddler. Whoa! I'm going to have a fun time keeping track of my professional development!

I am going to try to do a sewing project tomorrow. I told an old friend that I would make her daughter a plushy as a baby gift, but it has been months and it is still not done! Tomorrow, I am going to tackle that project...thinking about a mini bear in lavender polka dots. I also want to make at least one of the other animals I have been planning...what should I try first: koala, elephant, panda or zebra?

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thank You Ikea!

Yesterday, we took a trip to Ikea to finally purchase some shelving for our living room. I am so sad (though saved of embarrassment) that I don't have before pictures of our "behind the couch/office/storage" area. It had become the catch-all area in our living room where we could "hide" unsightly cardboard boxes full of who-knows-what, the litter box, my dead plant, and basically any number of stacks of papers that I just couldn't be bothered with shredding. We've been looking at shelving options for months, and I do mean many months...I believe it began when I was still at work! We never found anything that felt right, until last night. Thank you to Ikea for having a new, updated line of mix and match shelving with doors. We chose one that would fit under our window and would hide whatever was behind it. This is what we chose:

It does has a glass panel, so you can some things, and hopefully I clean up the right hand side. I like that my books are protected from dust now. And those boxes to the right of the cabinet we bought to be placed in the glass panel part, but unfortunately....they were too long. :(

We picked up these square mirrors (4 for $5!) and some votive candle holders, along with matching vases to decorate the top of the cabinet (and hopefully deter from just stacking things in that corner again). I added some pictures and things as well. I love the way it looks!

We also picked up a tall shelf (right) to put our gaming things, and between everything that fit in the two shelves, the desk/storage area can actually be used! Before you had to navigate around random things just to access the printer.

I also picked up this drawer organizer for my sewing cabinet. It is full, BUT it is organized and neat and I won't accidentally stick myself on pins or needles trying to dig out ribbon. Hooray! And because Ikea is so cheap, it was all very affordable. The tall shelf was from the As-Is section, and when we opened the bottom door, there was a full bathroom set in there! $83 worth of toothbrush holders, soap dispensers, toilet paper stand, toilet brush and soap dishes! I love free stuff!

In other news, it looks like I got a full time job! Still waiting for official confirmation, but I should start on Monday! I will work as a permanent sub in the school I had mentioned last. This position opened up and it was a way better option than the part-time position, even though the part-time was more related to what I want to do in the future. With the full time job, I can afford to go back to school, so this week I met with admissions at a local university to talk about applying to their Specialist Teacher in Reading graduate program. It would fit into my work schedule and I really think it is time. Lots going on! So, as you can imagine, no new projects this week. But I did make diet banana bread this eggs, Brummel and Brown instead of butter and Splenda. Can't wait to taste it! I've been motivated to start a second blog, where I will try to lose 52 lbs in 52 Weeks...I haven't started it yet, but I plan to track my progress and include recipes that I try along the way. I'll let you know when it is up and ready.

Oh! There's my bread beeping! Have a great evening everyone!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Laughing Cherry Blossom Bear

August has been such a crazy month! My newest creation is finally here after an entire month of nothing new in my store. I've been planning her for quite some time and she turned out great! She even has her head tilted back a bit to show off how she is laughing. What do you think of her face?

I just love the fabric that I made her with, but boy, is it hard to work with! Just like my Olive Bamboo Bear and Special Occasion Bear, Cherry Blossom Bear is made of an Asian print brocade, and no matter how much I sew, I never learn my lesson about cutting on the bias...I want the pattern to sit right! My tiered skirt and this bear have the same issue, although the bear's fabric is much more likely to fray. Therefore, it takes a little more effort to tidy everything up in the end. But I really like her! How about you?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Feature - Missouri Bend Studio

I know, it's after midnight, so it isn't really Friday, but I blame it all on Hurricane Earl! We had to drive to Rhode Island today to save the car from the impending storm (and our license plates FINALLY arrived today! Three whole weeks of waiting!). We were just driving away when some heavy rain started, so we made it just in time. And so far haven't had any issues up here. Anyhow, I wanted to share with you an Etsy Shop that I've really enjoyed following, both through her shop, on the Etsy forums, and on her blog, Missouri Bend Studio. Patti makes some amazing pieces of art out of mixed media. Each one is unique and oh-so-beautiful! I just love the creative and expressive designs and landscapes she makes...I wish I had half her talent! So let's get to know Patti from Missouri Bend Studio.

1. How did you get into crafting?
I think of myself as an artist, rather than a “crafter” per se, but having said that, I don’t know where the line is, between those two pursuits. Perhaps for me, being an artist goes beyond an activity to an identity and a way of being in the world, if that makes sense. I graduated from art school in 1980 and have been making art ever since, even alongside my job as a cataloger in the academic library of the school I attended, Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. I left that job after 25 years when we moved to South Dakota in 2005, but have never had a time when I was not making art. I get pretty cranky if I’m away from the studio for too long!
2. How did your Etsy shop come to be?
Well, my husband and I moved to South Dakota 5 years ago—he is a printmaker and now on the faculty at the University of South Dakota. The idea when we came here was that I would be in the studio full-time, which was what I did for the first year, but then I broke my leg and was laid up for a while and had time to think. I found I missed interaction with people and being in a library. Just then a ½ time position opened up at the university library. I worked there for three years, but let’s just say it wasn’t a good fit…not anything like the job I’d had at Ringling for 25 years! I was looking for some way to move on from that and heard about Etsy in early December of last year. I took the leap and opened my shop in mid-February and “retired” myself from the job in mid-May. I love this new Etsy life—am learning a lot about the on-line world, meeting new creative people and making a lot of new work in the studio. Etsy didn’t exist when we first moved here, I don’t think, and my time alone in the studio had no real focus or outlet, which is something that is really important! Now, I’m totally driven and immersed in this whole pursuit.
3. What is your favorite part about being creative?
My art-making practice is the way that I come to terms with my understanding of the world and of my place in it. I find that I think through my hands and as I make the work and watch it emerge, I learn what it is I’m actually thinking deep inside. And I’m never, ever bored…on the contrary, my biggest frustration in life is that there are not enough hours in the day and one lifetime is hardly enough to do everything I’d like!
4. Are you a full time crafter or do you have a "day job?"
As I mentioned before, I quit my ½ time day job…it was a leap of faith, as we are now on one income. While I have had many exhibitions and been in many juried shows up until now, my focus has never really been on sales. It’s a bit different now as I’m actively pursuing sales with my Etsy shop. Things are still very slow, but I am still working hard to make the numbers improve. I surely don’t want to go back, so I’m moving forward, wherever that takes me!
5. If someone were to buy you a birthday gift on Etsy, what 3 words would they use in their search?
This is a really great question! And really hard!!! I’m very interested in encaustic, which is a medium I haven’t pursued (Yet!) even though I work with beeswax. So, “encaustic” would be one word. I don’t think anyone could go wrong with a “mixed media” search and I would also choose “whimsical”…there’d be some tough choices from what would come from those searches!
6. How do you create your designs?
My work is very intuitive, so I never make sketches ahead of time. I keep playing and making marks, layering paint and drawing, until things feel right and I begin to understand what the work wants to be. This often means that there are many layers to the work that are buried, but they become part of its history.
This doesn’t mean there is no struggle or frustration…I’m often at battle with myself. I’d have to say that lately, things are becoming more fluid in some of the work and it just comes without much struggle. That is especially true of the new work in the Pearls on a String series. I really love working with the drawings on teabags dipped in beeswax. Now, I’ve also found that I can collage the teabag drawings with gel medium and this allows for a different way of working, so I’m playing with that as well. I often have several things going at once, all at different stages and move from one to the other. I’m really best when I’m in a flow and things come from deep inside and not from “thinking”….if that makes sense.
7. What's in your Soundtrack to Sewing?
If you are asking about what I listen to in the studio, it’s a wide variety. I’m most interested in folk and traditional music, fado, and classical. Here’s a sampling of what’s been on in the studio lately…Amalia Rodrigues, Abigail Washburn, Uncle Earl, Steve Martin, Philip Glass…the list goes on!
8. Favorite spots for inspiration?
We live right on the Missouri River overlooking the Nebraska bluffs and we absolutely love the landscape here and even though I don’t work directly from life or from the landscape, it is always a source of inspiration.
9. Who inspires you? I’m discovering many, many wonderful artists just here on Etsy…here are some that come to mind right away….with their shop names.
Olivia Jeffries (restlessthings)
Karen Turner (hodgepodgearts)
Cathy Nichols (cathynichols)
Amand Blake (thisisalliknow)
Cathy Cullis (cathycullis)
but there are so many more…you could look at my “favorites”…they’re all inspiration!
10. If you had to choose one item in your shop as a signature piece, what would it be and why?
I suppose I might say Pearls on a String no.6…it’s definitely one from the Pearls on a String series and I suppose that might be the defining one. I think it’s because those pieces practically create themselves….I’m really able to get out of the way and trust in the process. They have meaning for me in that they are about the idea of pearls on a string, which for me, alludes to moments of truth that occur throughout our lives, or the way that, through language, words are strung together to create meaning and magic. That piece also has the spoon which is probably the first utensil man created in order to keep himself fed…so it serves as a metaphor for me and it’s such a beautiful simple shape. I love working with the teabags dipped in beeswax, drawing with ink and sewing on paper.
It’s all there!

Thanks so much to Patti for given such detailed answers!

If you would like to be part of Sensation Shops, from which I choose my Friday Features, let me know. I'd love to see your Etsy shop and get to know you a little better. Have a great weekend everyone!