Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Special "Art as Usual" Pre-Order Options for Purchasing My Book!

It's almost here! My book, Creative Bloom: Wire and Fabric Projects and Inspiration will be available in mid- November; only a month and a half away! To celebrate I've designed some special pre-order packages. I really had fun dreaming up these packages and can't wait for you to see them. I want you to know though, that the book, by itself, is also available for pre-order through online retail sites at a really good price. I just wanted to offer you some extra artsy goodness in these packages because I can. It's also a bit of a thank you. I love this blog because of how sweet and generous and encouraging you all are. I am so grateful. This post unlike my usual ramblings, is however, really about the pre-order packages I dreamed up so if you've already ordered my book- thank you! Would you mind telling a friend or two? I really do appreciate it!
 So to make it super easy I've linked this post to my pre-order page where you can purchase these packages as well as find additional information about what is included in each package and see the special pre-order pricing. Each package does include priority shipping. I will ship them to you as soon as possible after I receive them. Yay!

Three Very Special Pre-Order Packages-

I designed three packages that will only be available through me and most probably only for a limited time, the Personal Creativity Package, the Creative Christmas Package, and the Creativity to Share Package. I created each of them with different purchasing reasons in mind.

For instance, if you can't wait to buy the book for your own personal artistic development and are really giving it as a gift to your artist self then the Personal Creativity Package is for you. Not only does it come wrapped as a gift, but it also comes with the wire word "inspire" handmade by me. This is sized so that you can either display it in your studio space, or you can actually incorporate it into your personal artwork. As an artist I know how hard it can be to stay motivated and I'm hoping that in this book, and with this wire reminder, you'll find personal inspiration that will not only motivate you but excite you as well. This package is specially priced for pre-order at $24.95

Next we have the Creative Christmas Package. This I designed as a special gift you'll give to that artist friend or family member who you know quivers with excitement at the sight of a new craft book. They love the gorgeous photo layouts, the exciting projects, and the inspirational writing and can't wait to delve in. They might have an interest in fabric, or mixed media, or fine art and be inspired by the possibilities this book shows for combining all of these. I guarantee there's no other book like this anywhere so this makes a unique gift like none other. To make it even better I've included special Christmas themed wrapping as well as a handmade snowflake ornament created by me. This is an original design that combines wire and beads that I know they will keep and love to pull out year after year. This book will also come signed and with a blank gift tag for you to use. Oh, and if you love Christmas you can purchase this for yourself as well. It makes a nice "Merry Christmas to me" present. This package is priced for pre-order at $34.95. I am only selling a limited number of these packages. So order early!

The third option is the Creativity to Share Package. This is the one to get if you'd love to give this book as a gift but really want one for yourself as well. It comes with two books, each signed, and each wrapped as a gift. I priced this package to make getting two books a little more do-able. Now you don't have to choose to give the book or keep it. You can do both!!! This package is available at the special pre-order price of $45.95. That's less than cover price!

Again, I am so excited to offer you these packages! I love that they include not only the book but allow me to add my personal touches that really convey the sense that this is really something special from me to you. From my artist spirit to yours. Again, thank you all so much.

****If you'd like to purchase more than two copies of this book, say if you want to give one to each member of your art group this year, then please contact me for additional special pricing. I'd love to talk to you and help you spread the creativity around!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I So Didn't win....

This is not the post I'd hoped to be writing today. That one would've said something like "whoo-hoo! I'm in!" I was hoping to tell you how I was one of the five semi-finalists chosen by Cloth Paper Scissors in their Artisan Search. But I can't tell you that, the winners were announced today and I was not one of the semi-finalists chosen. So I debated writing a post at all. It'd be so easy to pretend nothing happened and hope you all forget how excited I was to enter and how much I wanted to win.

But tonight (I'm writing this on Monday night) I was thinking about this and it seemed a bit like I'd be hiding something from you and I'm really committed to being authentic about my journey with you. The whole journey. So here it is- I spent a lot of today feeling pretty disappointed. I'd wanted to be selected. I wanted to win. I didn't. I even re-read the list of semi finalists over a few times just to be sure I hadn't overlooked my name. But nope- not there. :)

I think it's easy when you're looking on to think that the people who are successful in our field are more talented then we are, to think that they have something we don't, that they're charmed and we're not. I know I've thought this in the past and if I had been chosen then I wouldn't have this opportunity to speak authentically and tell you  that it's not true. Although I may seem like I have it all together (or maybe I don't LOL) because I have a book coming out, or have my own style, or whatever else looks good to you and you feel you don't have, I don't possess anything special. I'm not more talented than you. I'm not leading a charmed life, or are luckier than anyone else. 

But I dare to try. To be brave, to risk failure, to put myself in a place where my self esteem could be shaken. A few years ago I wouldn't have tried at all. I'd have thought about it and then felt like it would have been too great a risk. What if I tried and failed? What if I put my very best out there to be judged and it wasn't good enough? It's easy to extrapolate that I'm no good, that I wasn't talented enough, that my work isn't good enough, but it's not true. That's not what "not being selected" means. It means that there were dozens of amazing artists all competing for the same title and the tough reality is that only five were chosen in each category. So I pick myself up, admit I'm disappointed and move on. I think I read somewhere that the people we think of as successful in their field have also usually failed more than anyone else in their field. They risk more, they lose more, they win more. It's important to go on.

So tonight I've decided to make the best of this situation and use it as an excuse to encourage you. I want you to know that if you decide to put yourself "out there" then there will be times that you won't get that article accepted, or that first book proposal might not pass, or no one will buy what you think is your very best work. None of these situations mean you're a bad artist, or not talented enough, or are dumb for even thinking you might be good enough. No one else thinks that of you either. Me- I'd probably just admire you for trying.

I know it's asking a lot but I'd like to know what you really think about this subject. So please please please leave a comment. :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Vintage-Style Birthday Party

I actually did it today. I got up, got my son off to school and went back to bed. It is 9:59 and I am officially starting the day over. I have fresh coffee, I'm going to have breakfast, I checked my e-mail and now, sipping away, I get to talk to you. A much better start to my day.

This weekend we were in the lake country of Minnesota for my Dad's 60th birthday party. I had a lot of fun decorating for it and took a lot of photos so you could see too. For the party my mom and I didn't want to go the traditional black with the "over the hill" theme so instead went "vintage". My parent's have an etsy site selling vintage ware and so let me have free rein with the items they haven't yet posted (they are also teachers, so I made use of the old math cards as a sort of tribute). For the table settings, I just cut and rolled some spare upholstery fabric for the napkins, and placed the cute little silver plates next to each plate to hold the glasses. The little silver plates, I thought, would look adorable as little individual cupcake plates set at each spot at the table. We already had an amazing birthday cake though. A 3d birthday cake shaped like a mountain with a waterfall cascading down it that a coworker of my mom's made. It really was fabulous.

For a fun birthday vignette my Mom had the idea of using an old hanging clothes rack to showcase photos of my dad. I loved how that turned out and took a pic to share. We also used some old trays and stacked one on a pile of old books in the center of the table to add height to the serving dishes. It turned out nicely- for a finishing touch I ran out and cut a bit of sumac that was turning red and placed that in the vase in the center of the table.

I'm pretty excited by the fact that everything was done with things we had on hand. I think the element that took the longest was the banner and I don't think that took me much longer than 45 minutes. It was so simple too. I just cut a length of fabric and then cut triangles of old book paper. Then I stitched the book pages (they were stacked in two's) to the fabric piece with embroidery floss. Just right across the top. Then, to finish I used a Sharpie to write the letters on each triangle. SO easy- really.

So there you go- a tour of the party! Hopefully this gives you some ideas and maybe gets you thinking of some ways that you could decorate "vintage" for your next party. It's really not hard. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Have to Have it Jewelry

The charm necklace I made at TCC
Lately my jewelry fixation has come into it's own. I've always liked jewelry, I've even made jewelry, but I tended not to wear jewelry. It's just one more thing to do in the morning, and honestly, I have trouble pulling on a pair of jeans most mornings. It just seems hard. But in the last couple of weeks that's starting to change. I'm getting dressed early in the day and looking good because I can't wait to choose and wear some of my new jewelry.

My New Bracelet!!
Really it started with a couple of necklaces I got from a friend. She's 2 if by Sea and she has this knack for creating these amazing necklaces. The first necklace she gave me was a gift, but then I went and bought another from her etsy shop. She gets everything just right, the chain, the beads, the colors, the sizes, the pendants. I've dabbled with all these elements in the past so I know enough about how difficult and overwhelming the design process can be to be able to appreciate the talent she has for getting it all so right. Then just this last week she surprised me with one of her bracelets I'd admired. It truly is loooooveely, all copper and green and perfect for fall.

My new necklaces from Lisa Souers
So that was the start- then last week at The Creative Connection I found Lisa Souers of Lisa Souers Designs. She was on the far left aisle of the Handmade Market and I almost missed her. I love the way she's combined the vintage metal feel with resin and collage. The colors and shapes of her work really appeal to me as well. The dark patina of the metal that she uses gives her work a sort of industrial feel that contrasts really delightfully with the light and girly collages she creates. I have to say I kind of couldn't believe how good her prices were either. So good in fact that I bought two of her necklaces. ;)

Then I got to make the charm necklace you see at top in my La Bohemian Charm Necklace class at TCC taught by the amazing Kaari Meng of French General. I went back later and purchased a second kit from her and came home and made the necklace you see at right. It was fun to do because I got to add some supplies that I had and some vintage jewelry I'd pulled off of some garage sale finds. So the loveliness is really starting to stack up. You can imagine my dilemma each day. I have to find a shirt to wear each morning that will coordinate with whatever jewelry I feel like wearing that day. Oh, and I have to mention too that at TCC we were all given these cute little stamped silver necklaces from Lisa Leonard. They say "create a handmade life" and of course being silver, goes with anything.

Then to make it really really hard I just had returned to me, earlier this week, the jewelry I created for my book. There is a  "charming" charm bracelet, a sparkling fabric and wire cuff, and a fabulous fiber necklace. Now here's the super cool news- they'll be for sale in another month or so when I've got the rest of my fabric jewelry line ready to debut. I've never actually offered my jewelry for sale before so I'm really excited/ a little nervous to introduce you all to it. There will be necklaces, cuffs, pendants, earrings and some funky cool badges. I'm really excited by the possibilities of those. So I hope you'll check back soon for the sneak peek. I'd also love it if you'd leave a comment letting me know what jewelry you own that you love to wear (wedding rings don't count ;). Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

~A little More of the Goodness to go Around~ TCC

More Thoughts and Advice to Share from The Creative Connection Event-

People are Important
- Find others to network with, people you feel a connection to, they'll be there to walk alongside of you. Identify people you admire in your field. Get to know who they are and then get to know them better through twitter, their blogs, facebook. People are making themselves available through these social networking sites.
- Get criticism from people you admire and trust but don't let rejection hurt you. People are busy. Leigh Standley of Curly Girl designs mentioned how when she started in the greeting card business she asked a lot of people the same questions and it was a while before she'd find the right person who was willing to answer them. But when that opportunity came (someone cool showed interest) she went for it and asked again and got some really fabulous answers.
- Learn from others. Make the investment attending something like TCC is. If you're a blogger go to the big blogging conferences. I guess blogher has a good one. Connect with people. Relationships grow quickly at these events, they really are a huge boost to finding and connecting with the right people.

Women Entrepreneur's Panel
About your Business
My French General Jewelry Kit
- It is a business. Keep that in mind and make decisions with this in mind. But just because some amazing offer comes along don't feel you have to accept it. Think about it first. For instance, if I'm offered a big wholesale contract but don't really want to produce that much should I accept just because it seems like, or is represented, as such a huge opportunity? No.
- You are responsible for making sure that the choices you make are in keeping with your ethics, your brand, your business ideal. Don't say yes to everything because if you do it will cripple your business (paraphrased from something Heather Bailey said)
- Never sign the first contract. Companies will never give you their best deal in the first contract and will probably respect you more if you suggest changes.
-Make sure when licensing that you vet the company thoroughly. Ask others, find out where the product is made, make sure you have design approval, and make sure that the contract states explicitly what you are giving them the license to produce. For instance, "stationary products" can cover a wide range of items.
- Use a lawyer when reviewing contracts but get one who already knows your industry. You shouldn't have to pay for their time as they "learn the ropes" of your industry.
- Plan for incremental success. Don't throw all your hopes on getting Martha Stewart to walk in your door or that something you make will go viral. Build up.
-Quickie tip from Beth of Etsy: people shop during the week at lunch. Not weekends. Also, the best day to blog is Thursdays. Who knew? :)

Social media
- Don't overextend yourself in Social Media. Make creating your product your first priority. So if you can't do them all, pick the one's you feel you'll be able to give the most value to. Facebook, twitter, flickr, etc. are all very different beasts.
-Find your people and follow them back when they follow you (Twitter)
-Schedule your "on" time.
-Create a community that will work with you. Get them excited about a new launch and they'll share it with others. That's a lot of influencers going to work for you. Thank them by giving them information, sharing with them, and doing a give away once in a while. :)
- Use social media to conduct market research. Once you have your peeps ask them how often they'd like to hear from you. How often should I send out my newsletter, what products would you like to see? How would you promote_______? Ask questions.
- Be an expert on one thing. Others with questions about whatever you do will find you and through them others will find you. It's just another way of being relevant.
-Let them know your story. Create a bigger image/narrative around your items.
-Operate with a generosity of spirit. Share resources, react to what's around you, what you see others doing that's just plain cool.
-Be unique to yourself but pay attention to consistency. Find an individual voice and then pay attention to what you say in it. Be authentic but know that you do have the power to censor yourself. You don't have to throw every little thought out there. There's a necessary line between sharing you and sharing all of you. Find it.
-Social Media is the way to bring it all back to one place. Know your passion and make that the hub. If your book is it, bring it all back to that. If it's etsy, then make sure that you've links from all your other online presences to etsy. *Personally, I have a problem with this one. I love etsy and I love my book, and I love the sharing and encouraging others that this blog allows me to do. So I tend to vacillate between making each my focus according to what's at the top of my priority list today. *
So there y'all go. I'm hoping you can understand what I wrote above. I know that it's a lot of bits of things. So much of this event was impressions, coupled with tons and tons of content. Much of which wasn't directed entirely towards me and my business so I tried to pull out of it what I could apply to me. So you're getting my notes and my thoughts all kind of jumbled up with those of the panelists and speakers.

I think I'll do one more post about this event. I thought I'd share with you the things I made and a bit about the instructors and some of the super cool people I met. I think you'll enjoy meeting these people as much as I did. :) If something I wrote above did really strike a cord with you though I'd LOVE to hear it. I did choose to share more today than I had intended just because so many of you seemed to really appreciate the first post I did on this event. So thank you for sharing your enthusiasm with me. It gets me excited too!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Holding My Book for the Very First Time!!!

On Monday the advance copy of my book arrived!!!! I still kind of can't believe it. I sat down immediately and started to read it from cover to cover. It's just such an incredible experience. I actually kept it to myself for a day and didn't tell anybody just because I felt like I needed to absorb it all a little first. This book was a very long time in coming. I sent my first e-mail proposal 22 months ago. It was pretty rough and I'm so grateful to North Light's acquisitions editor for looking past that roughness and helping me to refine and develop it before taking it to the publishing board. They then look at your proposal, outline, artwork, etc. and decide if this is something that will fit them and they think they can sell. They vote and the very nervous author then gets an e-mail saying it's a go, at which point she's in a moms group meeting and screams and then quickly covers her mouth hoping no one heard. Of course they all did and are curious so after the meeting you tell a few of them that you are going to be an author. Seriously.

THEN the work begins, you develop a list of projects (20+), trusting all the while that you will be able to make them all, because when you handed in your list there were a few things on there that you'd never actually made before. But you thought they would be really cool if you could, then you spend the next few months figuring out how to make the things you said you could. All the while trusting in God to give you the answers you don't yet have when you need them. Your mother tells you she doesn't want to see you with another art supply in your hands again-ever- because all you do when you come visit is hand over the kid and start to work. Of course she loves the kid to death and doesn't really mind. And she might be a wee bit proud of you, just tired of not seeing much of you. Your husband's looking a little neglected and is sick of jarred spaghetti, but is being super supportive because you're doing this together and you both know when you hold the book in your hands it will all be so worth it, and he knows how badly you want it and wants it for you (cause he's sweet like that).

You lean on your friends and your family and somehow the work gets done and it's amazing. Then all you have to do is step out the projects for the photo shoot, fly to Cincinnati for the week long photo shoot, and when you come home everyone is so glad you're finally done. Then you break it to them that you still have to write the book. So you spend your Christmas vacation writing the content. All the while loving it and hoping that as you write others will hear your voice and be inspired by it. You of course pretend it's this awful chore but you truly love having this chance to encourage and share your experiences with others.

Then there's a few rewrites, editing, back and forth between your fabulous editor and you, and then you wait. And wait. The book is going to design, it's going to editing, it's doing all these things without you now and after a while you start to see snatches of what it might look like but still you don't quite know.

So when the Fed ex truck pulls up and hands you your book, it's amazing. Like holding your baby for the first time you can't quite believe that this- came from you. It looks a little like you and a little like all the other talented people who worked on it. It combines your vision with your editor's, the designer's, and every one else who had a hand in shaping it. But you're truly absolutely holding it in your hands. So that's when I sat down and read it cover to cover. I was reacquainting myself with my words and art. It was consuming and wonderful and I almost missed picking up my son from school. So you toss it in your purse and run to pick him up and he's the very first person you show. He says he's already seen all your art and doesn't need to see it again- oh, and weren't there some Oreo's?

And slowly you start to share it with the people you wrote it for, other bloggers, other mommies, other artists who are seeking inspiration, or haven't yet dared to call themselves artists. And you hope and pray that they will be inspired and encouraged and go out and make tons and tons of art, now with a clearer idea of who they are as artists and what inspires them. You hope they appreciate it a little more than your 5 year old does, and maybe even enjoy it with some Oreo's.

The book is being sold now as a pre-sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other sites. Amazon gives the release date as Nov. 17th. Crazy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Favorite Flannel Cuff- Tutorial

Welcome! Today I'm participating in a crafting relay that was coordinated by the fabulous Stina Glaas of Sagolikt Pyssel. I'd love to have you all check out the tutorial below and then for the rest of the goodness check out the relay schedule here.

The weather's turning a bit colder and the air's a bit brisker, tell tale signs that fall has begun. For me this means warm apple cider, evening's by the fire, and flannels. I love the cosy feeling a really worn out flannel bestows on it's wearer; there's nothing else like it. After 15 years of wear I've decided it's time to retire my favorite flannel from daily use. It's worn too thin, and the buttons are barely attached- and the death knell- it's no longer comfy. I only keep it around because of the associations I have of it- the flannel was originally my grandfather's. So as a tribute of sorts I decided to upcycle it to create this fabric cuff. It pairs my beloved flannel with my other favorite material, a t-shirt knit, and to finish it off I've added a bit of lace. This is the type of lace my mom always used on my clothes when I was a little girl so wearing this cuff, with this lace, gives me that fairy tale princess feeling I had as a child. I love this cuff- truly- and I'm hoping this tutorial will inspire you to recreate something fabulous with your old favorites as well. Enjoy!
My Favorite Flannel Cuff Tutorial

Tools and Materials
A favorite piece of worn out clothing
2 strips of a coordinating knit fabric
Decorative elements such as lace, old buttons, etc.
Glass of hot coffee or tea (optional)
Embroidery Floss in 2-3 colors (one to contrast, a couple to coordinate)
Crop-a-dile with grommets
14" length of ribbon

Step One: Cut a strip of knit fabric 7 1/2"w x 2 3/4"h. Cut a second strip of knit that's 6 1/2"w x 1 7/8"h. Stack smaller on top of the larger. Check the size by wrapping it around your wrist. These measurements are for a medium sized wrist so adjust larger or smaller as necessary.

Step Two: This step is optional, but what I did was stick my knit fabric and the lace I planned on using into a glass of hot coffee. I pulled it out pretty quickly so that there's only a slight staining. I was told that using tea was better if you don't like the coffee smell as it lingers. I also used Staz-on ink with a text stamp to add some texture to the knit.

Step Three: Stitch your two pieces of knit together with embroidery floss. Cut a strip from the front button panel of your flannel shirt approx. 5 3/4"w. x. 1 1/4"h. Stitch on top of knit fabrics.

Step Four: Fold under the right edge of your lace fabric about an 1/4" from edge. With your needle and embroidery floss place a couple stitches to hold this fold. Then holding the top edge of your lace beneath the bottom length of your cuff and stitch to cuff.

Step Five: Cut a small strip of knit fabric that is roughly the same height of your cuff. Hold beneath edge of cuff. Using your Crop-a-dile, punch two holes through both layers of fabric, and along the far right edge of your cuff. Place so that you have about a 1/2" of allowance both above the top hole and beneath the bottom hole. Then holding the small strip of fabric in place, use your Crop-a-dile again to add the grommets and secure the two pieces together. Adding this extra layer reinforces the top fabric so that the grommet will hold it's place and not pull right out of the knit.

Step Six: Wrap cuff around your wrist, overlapping the ends so that the right edge of your cuff lies over your left edge and then using a pen make a mark through grommet holes. Then using your Crop-a-dile create small holes at each of these two marks. If you don't have a Crop-a-dile you can cut these holes with a scissor and add the grommets the old fashioned way. This is just much simpler. :)

Step Seven: Thread your length of ribbon through these holes from the bottom side of the cuff. Pull til ends are of even length and then using your needle and floss, stitch the ribbon to the cuff between the two holes.

Step Eight: Pull the ribbon up through the grommets and then tie in a bow to secure. I designed this to be the bottom of the cuff and have left extra ribbon to dangle, but it can be worn as the top of the cuff- it's so pretty. To finish the cuff I did stitch some old shell buttons between the shirt buttons for some decorative contrast. You may decide to add other decorative elements such as a bit of old jewelry, old ribbon, or maybe a quote printed onto fabric. How you embellish your cuff is up to you but make it special and meaningful- then it's guaranteed to be your new favorite. :)

The finished cuff!

Be Sure and Check out tomorrow's tutorial at To Live Just in Time!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Random Goodness- What I Learned at TCC

Sometimes I try to trick myself by sternly telling myself that the things I want to do are actually things I have to do. That puts them on par with the rest of my to-do list. When I signed up for The Creative Connection I had all kinds of reasons for how it would be so good and beneficial for my business when really I just wanted so badly to go and play and be with other creatives, other randoms. I'm so glad I did. Not only did I get some really solid business advice but I got those things that satisfy that other part of ourselves, the part that needs interaction with others like us, that needs an influx of colors and ideas and pretty things to stimulate us. I loved the art play that I was able to partake in during this event but far more valuable to me was meeting other artists and creatives and learning their stories and hearing their thoughts about the creative life. I have to admit the business panels were not my favorite parts of the event but I did learn a lot that will help me grow my business. I want to share some of the insights I gleaned over the weekend with you but it will be a pretty random list since I'm still absorbing and processing it all.
Fabric Flower Brooch by Ruth Rae


- Most art careers happen organically. HOWEVER they need a start. You have to do something to begin the process. It can be a super small step that will begin a huge life shift.
- Often we're journeying towards something before we really know what that is. Be patient with yourself and leave time for those tangents that seem impractical or even like time wasters. Later you'll see how they were actually super important aspects of your journey.
- Do take chances on the things you really believe in. Don't take risky chances unless you're prepared to invest your whole self in their success.
- When you plan, plan for success not failure. Instead of asking yourself what you'll do if your product or business doesn't succeed, ask yourself how you'll deal when it does. For instance, if your hair accessories go huge will you be able to manufacture huge quantities? Will you be able to source materials? How will you cope with all the incidentals of succeeding? Have systems in place.
- It's ok to work with a trend but don't make the trend your product. For instance if you're a painter, work at developing your personal style- you can pick up on trendy subject matter, like mushrooms or owls BUT it's doing things in your own style that will allow you to remain flexible but still relevant.
- Learning a new skill is never a waste of time. Investing in your self education is really what will pay off the most for you as an artist.
- Be careful of what and who you allow to surround you. I think this is especially true as artists because we're so receptive. So find friends who will walk alongside of you, encourage and inspire you and not hold you back. Spend time in art museums or outside soaking in the gorgeousness and beauty of nature.
- Don't ever tell yourself that you can't or it's impossible (whatever it is).
- To the best of your ability, make sure the majority of your time is spent doing what you do best. Doing things you hate sucks a lot of the passion and creativity out of you. So an investment in a book keeper might not be as extravagant as you might think if you really really hate that aspect of your business.
- If you do have to do something you hate, try to make it less hateful (do it with a glass of wine or do it with your favorite tv show or podcast playing) and then suck it up and get it done with. Don't procrastinate and obsess- it really will harm you creatively.
Lauri Meseroll Teaching the Vivid Vignette
- Be you, be authentic. It saves the time and energy of keeping up a pretense, it's much easier, and you'll draw those who are like minded to you because of it. Honestly, there will be people who don't get you or your art- don't take it personally. We're all different, we all make different things. You probably don't care for their work either and that's not a bad thing.
- Gush about the good stuff. Revel in it, love it, soak it up.
- Be grateful that you were given the gifts you were given and know that you were also given the responsibility for developing, using and protecting those gifts.

So there you are. Some of the main ideas that I heard expressed over the weekend as well as some of my own thoughts. There were a lot more amazing opinions, expressions, as well as some cautions that I thought were worth remembering and I'll try to share those with you as well at another time. I would love to hear what does strike you though as you read this as well as any truths that come to you. I think it's a way to be generous and if we all share a bit I think we're all much richer because of it. So please leave a comment!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Whoo- Do you Love? T-shirt Pendant Tutorial

Don't you love how ideas come together? You're browsing a bookstore and something kind of tugs at you, later you're at the fabric store and you get another tug, then you're driving home and spot something out the window- another tug. Sometimes that's enough and sometimes this can go on for weeks even months as little bits of an idea just sort of fall into place. As if you're mentally sorting a puzzle while discovering the pieces along the way. You never know just when you'll come across one.

The idea for this tutorial came about in this way. I found a book on fabric jewelry at the library, then I was thinking about some fabric necklaces I'd made last year for the book, later I was cleaning out my basement and found a ton of old t-shirts. Then, sorting the laundry I found the owl t-shirt I'd been looking for. All seemingly seperate actions and diverse images that became the basis for this tutorial. So take a look and if you make one or something inspired by it I'd love to have you post them on my facebook fan page! Thanks!


Owl Pendant: T-shirt Necklace Tutorial

Tools and Materials
knit t-shirt fabric in asst. colors ( I have light blue, darker blue, and cream)
embroidery floss to contrast with t-shirt colors (I used blue, brown, and orange DMC)
scissors ( I like the small Ikea scissors for trim work)
jump ring

Step One: Cut from your material the basic owl shape. I cut this free hand but you can make up your own template.

Step Two: Cut pieces for the front belly of the owl, the wings, and the eyes. To get the exact shape of the wings I placed my large owl shape on top of my light blue fabric and cut following the edge of that shape.

Step Three: Using your needle, threaded with embroidery floss very carefully stitch the front of the owl, the eyes, and then add any extra decorative stitching you desire. I free-stitched the eyes, and added a little stitching to his head.

Step Four: Make sure any loose threads are knotted close to the fabric and trimmed on the backside of your pendant.

Step Five: Place your owl on top of another piece of t-shirt material that's slightly larger and stitch together by going around the edge of your owl shape. When you get to the spots where the wings should go add them in. Carefully trim around your shape.

Step Six: To finish your pendant use your handy-dandy crop-a-dile and add the eyelet. To add the eyelet you first have to cut a hole for it. To do this use the larger hole punch on your crop-a-dile. Then place your eyelet in and squeeze to secure. * variation below
Step Seven: Cut a strip of t-shirt material to your desired length. Add a jump ring to your eyelet and then thread your fabric through this. Tie the two ends together to make a knot and wear your fabric pendant with pride!!!

*Variation*- You can stop at step 4 before adding the eyelet and add a pinback to your owl instead. That option would look like this... For added embellishment you can also add some decorative stitching to the front cream part of the owl. I thought stitching on some overlapping antique shell buttons to represent feathers would be cute here too. Or stitch on a neck tie- it's up to you!!!