Archive | September 2011

Home Companion to publish again?

I’ve missed Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion magazine since it ceased publication three years ago. It’s still hard for me to believe its been gone that long, seems like almost yesterday when I received that sad email from my editor telling me the publication was closing shop.

I’ve said this before many times, but I’ve been a adoring fan of this publication long before I ever had a small piece in it. I absolutely adored producing and writing the Paper, Scissors, Crop column in Home Companion each issue. It was a truly thrill to ask fabulous mixed-media artists to create unique artwork that fit like a glove with the magazine’s home decor and artistic style. I loved featuring so many of the top artists in our field, and was grateful to Barbara Elliot Martin and Mary Engelbreit for giving me the chance to learn and grow as an artist myself through that experience. Personally, my work and career has come a long way in the last 3 years and I know what I learned from Home Companion is a part of that.

My heart skipped a beat the other day when I was on Twitter and I saw a retweet from another fan referencing Mary’s blog. She wrote a post recently asking fans to declare their support for the magazine’s return by committing to a subscription (or two or three). I’m SO there. If Mary and Barbara and Kathy manage to get a publisher to commit, then I plan to buy subscriptions for at least a half-dozen friends and family.

Now, here’s the deal. They need a “gajillion” people to post comments about how much they miss Home Companion. If you love this magazine and want to see its return, hop on over and read Mary’s blog post on it right now and leave a resounding YES! for all to see.

New ICE Resin Creative Team

Announcement day has arrived for the new ICE Resin Creative Team. Because we received so many amazing applications we needed a little extra time to sort through everything and ensure we had seen and absorbed all the creativity shared with Kristen, Susan and myself. Truly, we cannot thank all the applicants enough for sharing a piece of themselves with us in this process. It’s our hope all of those who were not chosen will continue to not only create with ICE Resin but share photos with us via our Flickr Pool so we can share designs on the company blog with Flickr Fridays.

Here are the amazing designers we’ve chosen for the 2011- 2012 ICE Resin Creative Team.

Lesley Fisher & Michael Putnam

Cat Kerr

Joanna Pierotti

Andrea Ring

Tina Schiefer

Take a peek at their blogs and watch for many new and amazing creations from this group of talented individuals. Also be sure to check out Creative Team Wednesdays on the ICE Queen eZine for more information about the Designers in the coming weeks, as well as Tech Tuesdays where they’ll be sharing their expertise with helpful techniques, tips and tricks.

CKU and You

Oh my, I looked at my calendar today and realized the CKU Reunion event is right around the corner. My son started asking about Halloween and I thought to myself, gulp! I better get the kid’s costumes together before my usual scrambling because I’ll be spending time in the lovely Hyatt Regency La Jolla in one of my favorite places, San Diego, California from Oct. 27-29th.

I’m so looking forward to teaching this event with my dear friend and fellow ICE Resin expert, Kristen Robinson. I’m jazzed that we both published resin books this year and are teaching classes using the techniques. That’s precisely what we’ll be doing at the CKU (Creating Keepsakes University) event next month with nearly 400 scrapbookers gathering together to share their love of family, friends and creativity.

We’ll be spreading the word that one of the best things about resin jewelry is how easily and simply you can customize it. Those wonderful photos of your children make sweet charm bracelets or necklaces for grandmas and aunts. In addition to pictures, I love using my paper scraps to make resin jewelry. As a mixed-media artist, I have a bit of a hording problem when it comes to all those lovely little snips of patterned paper that wind up on my desk after making a paper-based project. I scoop them up and save them in plastic baggies for collage bits when creating my resin bezels.

If you haven’t had a chance to look at the CKU Reunion event website yet, please take a peek. I’m getting really excited when I think of the community scrapbooking spirit that’s waiting for me just a little over a month away. I hope you’ll be able to join us.

Here are the details:

CKU Reunion

October 27-29, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in San Diego, CA.

Cost is $295 (does not include hotel room or food)

Includes: album track, four 90 minute classes, evening activities, goodies, prizes, and more

Register online at www.creatingkeepsakes.com/cku

I {heart} Saturdays – Clever Logo

Just a quick one this Saturday, as it’s a busy family weekend to celebrate my son’s birthday. I thought I’d show a company logo that inspires me.

What do I like about this image? Humor, color, the leaf cleverly acting as an upturned mouth, and great marketing where the product and it’s brand shines through like the sun slicing brightly through the clouds on an overcast day.

I have no idea what this bakery actually sells, but I can tell you after seeing this company logo, I’m ready to buy one of everything. This isn’t just about eating a sweet treat, it’s about engaging all the senses along with a wallop of humor to boot.

Again, I found this on fab.com in the inspiration section.

Here’s wishing you a truly Artful Saturday!

A Jewelry Affaire Autumn 2011

I received my copy of the Autumn 2011 Jewelry Affaire and I am impressed by another beautiful issue. The cover is an unexpected kelly green-and-champagne white color combination that I think works well and doesn’t scream the typical Fall publishing colors.

Though I’m not an editor of the magazines I freelance for, I just can’t help wearing that hat in my mind’s eye when I see the published issues. I’m forever saying nice things about Stampington’s magazines, but it’s because I believe the quality of the photography and layout is really quite outstanding.

When I opened Jewelry Affaire to read Editor Beth Livesay’s column, I was surprised to see my name jump out as the first two words on the page. It was sweet she mentioned my visit to the Stampington offices in the Spring to do some video filming for ICE Resin.

 

The story of my mother’s vintage purple brooch that I re-purposed into a necklace is also featured on page 121 in this issue. I really like how the eggplant stone and the matching silk sari pops off the page. I have a treasure trove of vintage rhinestone pins from my mother that I’ll be working with in the future. Some hold such special childhood memories for me that I’m wondering how easy it will be for me to disassemble.

There are some amazing designs in this issue that should inspire you to pick up your jewelry pliers and get to work creating your own beautiful adornment. The issue is available on newsstands October 1, so keep an eye out for it next trip to your bookstore.

Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day!

I {heart} Saturdays – Typography

I’m such a sucker for typography. I began collecting letters when I was working as an editor of a community newspaper and volunteering on the board of my local SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) chapter wayyyyy back when. Each year, the organization held a national conference and Phoenix was chosen as the host city. Like most conventions, Saturday evening was the big fundraising dinner with a keynote speaker and a silent auction filled with all kinds of great newspaper memorabilia.

That year I bid on, and won, a giant brass letter T that was hanging outside the Chicago Sun Time’s building. After the newspaper was sold in the mid-90s, the new owners did some sprucing up and donated the beautiful old letters to the national SPJ organization for fundraising. My journalist friends at the time wondered why I bought the T when there was no one in our family with that intial, but I had my reason. It was the capital letter of the Times and the font is a gorgeous Old English script.

I still have the heavy T tucked away in a vintage steamer trunk of mine. I think it might be time to pull it out and find the perfect place to display it once again.

For now, here are some images of Topography that inspire me as an artist and writer. I hope they do the same for you. I found these images under the inspiration header on Fab.com

Here’s wishing you a truly Artful Saturday!

Happy thought for the day

I snapped this picture the other day when my sister and I were having a girl’s day out shopping and lunching in Sedona. We stopped for a Carmel Frappacino at Starbucks and spotted this cutie patootie partaking in his own little treat. Sure, it was water, but I couldn’t help putting myself in the puppy’s head with the thought of “Hey, this is great! Life is good. Frappacino and adoring fans. What’s not to love?”

As I wrote in my last post, life has felt a little overwhelming of late because of some family stuff. When the house got quiet this morning, I was looking though my iPhone for some inspirational photos to help me start my work day. I saw this little guy and thought, seriously, who can be sad around puppies and babies? I decided to write a quick note in my journal. Nothing fancy, just a random thought to get my head into a good space when I walked into my studio to tackle the deadlines ahead of me.

People think that when you are an artist that you’re constantly in a state of creativity. Sure, I have my fair share of ideas swirling through my brain, but sometimes life gets in the way, just like everyone else. It’s times like today when doing a quick 5 minute prompt in my journal helps me find my center and gives me just the space I need to get to work.

(As a side note, I never kept a visual journal because my drawing skills have not progressed much beyond grade school. I was intimidated by the amazing work of people like Teesha Moore. But then I took a doodling class from Dawn DeVris Sokol and she made me realize I used to love drawing and that whatever marks I make in the privacy of my own journal are mine, and mine alone. I consider myself a novice art journaler and I don’t have lots of extra time to work at it, but its been a fun new exercise for me.)

I wonder, what do you do when your feet are in the mud and you need to get your head back in the cloud so you can be creative?

Life is…sometimes sad

This may come as a surprise, but I’m really a very private person. It seems an oxymoron because I’m outgoing and I enjoy social situations. But I do tend to keep my personal life close to me. I know there’s a trend in blogging to open oneself wide-open, to share life’s ups and downs with friends and strangers who frequent one’s blog. I call it Oprah-blogging, and while I truly have no judgment on those who choose this type of approach, I can honestly say it’s not my thing.

That said, I also say repeatedly in my writings that “life is messy” and, for me, that means there is no “perfect.” The people who, from the outside looking in, seem to have a perfect life with a perfect marriage and perfect children…house, career, etc. are really no different from you or me. All of us have challenges, it’s just that some have more and some have less.

I was very proud of a friend of mine, Jen Osborn, who recently got back into blogging after a personal absence from her public art career so she could take care of things that were happening within her family. She went public with her personal struggles and, I believe, she is being an inspiration to others by sharing as openly as she has these past few weeks. Her story is not mine to tell, but here is a link to Jen’s blog.

My story today is that I’m dealing with my aging parents rapidly declining health and my mother’s deep depression. I fall within that category of “sandwich generation”. My mother was 38 when she had me and I was 41 when I had my daughter. My parents are in their 80s. I’m their caregiver, and days like today when their world is crashing inward, I find myself being called upon to help, which means juggling the sandwich so the whole thing doesn’t turn into a giant soggy mess. Of course, that’s what it feels like (a giant soggy mess) and part of my personal challenge right now is to truly feel my feelings. Not to minimize them, shove them aside, not to bury them in Dove dark chocolate.

Only those closest to me know the sadness in my heart right now, as well as the full details, but it seemed time to share a teeny bit of it because I talk a lot about being real and living authentically. That means my real life, as well as my online “public” life.

It also seemed a day to share something not-so-happy. September 11th is a day of remembrance when our collective worlds came crashing down upon us. We stood in shock, we cried, we felt the sadness. We found ways to cope. Today – 9-11-11 – is another day of struggle, only this time it’s purely personal.   

What the heck is a QR code?

Not sure if you’ve been following my QR code adventure that began this summer at the Craft and Hobby Association or not, but my conversations on the topic seem to have hit a target with some folks.

You can read my columns on QR codes at CreateMixedMedia, but now there is one more avenue to get some information on how sexy this new technology can be. Ricë Freeman-Zachary and I did a podcast on Wednesday explaining QR codes and all the cool things one might be able to do with them. Ricë is so darn fast and prolific that she already has the podcast live on her blog Notes From the Voodoo Cafe. Here’s the direct link to our QR code podcast.

If you don’t feel like following the links, here’s a general rundown. QR codes are short for Quick Response. They are those little squiggly square black-and-white boxes with squares in the corners that you scan with your smart phone. You must first download a QR code app on your phone, but these are free so it’s no biggie. The scan goes to a link and up pops up some kind of information on your smart phone, be it a website, a coupon, a video, a flash animation, etc. There are also QR tags, which are square colored boxed with triangles inside.

My QR tag is shown above. You need to download a tag reader from http://gettag.mobi to read mine. While it’s a little difficult to do this when the tag or code is on the computer, you would need to open your app, hold your smart phone to the computer screen, the phone will scan the tag and my face will pop up on your screen.

Here I am at Art Unraveled this summer when I was excited to open Destination Creativity and see my little blurb that I wrote for the book.

Ricë has taken the information I gave her about QR codes and just ran with it. She created the cutest book trailer for her fabulous new book Destination Creativity and attached it to a QR code that she’s put on her MOO cards and make stickers with, etc. I’m so proud of her! I feel like a momma bird watching her baby fly away.

I am seriously in love with Destination Creativity. Ricë and her gorgeous husband/photographer Earl, truly captured the collaborative and community spirit found at these amazing mixed-media art retreats held across the country. When I write about where I’m teaching, it’s usually at one of these events and I just feel so blessed and lucky to be part of these experiences. I promise once you read, Ricë book you are going to want to book a flight to the next Art & Soul or Adorn Me! (hey, check out my workshops if you click the link).

Also, my sweet friend Barbe Saint John (who is also a wickedly-talented mixed-media artist and one of the people whom I bounce my ideas off of) also blogged about Destination Creativity and has some cute pics of us on there. Check out Barbe’s post.

So with all this good information please, right now, go buy the book! Next, listen to the podcast.

Here’s wishing each of you a truly Artful day!

End of Summer Limonchello

My homemade Limonchello steeping in a Mason jar. Isn't it a thing of beauty? I love this shot, taken with my iPad2 camera and then altered slightly in Photoshop. I really enjoy making these kind of still life photos.

I’m a bit of a teetotaler. A nice glass of wine with friends every now and then or the occasional craft brew is quite enough for me, thank you very much. Friends of mine, however, introduced me to two new cocktails this summer that are just so yummy, they pretty much disprove my theory that I don’t care for alcohol.

The first is a Mojito, which tastes a bit like key lime pie with lots of fresh mint, which what makes it so yummy. The second exliar is Limonchello, a tart lemony syrup that tastes like the best homemade lemonade you’ve ever had, but packs quite the alcoholic punch. It’s amazing how the Limonchello sneaks up on me. One minute, I’m sipping lemon goodness and the next minute my head is hazy.

I thought I’d share the recipes for both with you just in case you want to toast the enjoy the end-of-summer.

Mojito

  • 1.25 ounces of rum
  • 12 mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 0.5 ounces of lime juice (I love key limes)
  • 2 ounces of seltzer

Place mint leaves in the bottom of a highball glass. Add crushed ice, rum, sugar and lime juice and muddle with a spoon. Add seltzer and garnish with more fresh mint.

Limonchello

  • 10 lemons
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle Everclear
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar

Cut lemons into quarters and then remove the peel from the lemon in long strips (It’s the lemon rind that gives the drink its flavor). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. (If the pith is left on the lemons, it makes the mixture bitter) Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart Mason canning jar. Pour Everclear over the peels and cover. Be sure the alcohol fully covers the lemon rinds. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 14 days at room temperature.

After the lemons have steeped, stir the water and sugar in a pan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the simple syrup over the Everclear/lemon mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the Limoncello through a mesh strainer and discard the peels. Transfer the Limonchello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.