Archive for the ‘feng shui’ Category

Top Ten Tuesday

So I am not a video gamer. Couldn’t even master Pac-Man, and I hurt my wrist trying Frogger. Plus, I hate the amount of violence in video games. This week I discovered an article about a gun-free video game. Who knew? Called the Unfinished Swan, it has lots of elements of art within it. Fascinating.

“Ian Dallas was a comedy writer who cut his teeth at the Yale Record, then The Onion, before moving into TV and working on Comedy Central’s Drawn Together. But his plan was always to make video games. So he went to grad school and created a prototype for an unusual game wherein players are confronted with a white void of a world to which they give form by splattering paint around to reveal the objects and environment around them. ”

I’m finally working through all the cool things from Cool Hunting. Here’s a neat item from Vermont: Battenkill Brittle, gluten-free energy bars, and they look yummy.

Here’s a wonder of the world a lot of people don’t know about: The amazing Bay of Fundy in time-lapse.

Have trouble with deciding what colors look good together? Check out Design Seeds – a collection of pictures that have identified the color palette within. Lots of inspiration here.

From Origami Joel comes another very interesting paper artist, Matt Shlian. Absolutely beautiful!

The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck – beautiful video from my friend Amethyst, who minored in the philosophy of science. It sounds like she did some incredibly interesting reading in those classes! I could take those classes now…..

This is an interesting blog from the Surface Design Association on feng shui for your studio. I need to reread this at lenght, and I also think I will investigate the books she mentions efore I look at repurposing the garage into a wet dye studio.

Jamie Ridler guides artists to authentic creative living. Here’s a post about learning from the Olympics that has some really good thoughts in it. Olympic Lessons for Non-Athletes – Or What I Learned from the Olympic Games.

If you are running a small business, hopefully you know about Handmadeology – an online collection of articles on all aspects of marketing. Some really great stuff here….and I say that even though I write a regular blog for them!

Finally, for all my math friends – Prime Number Patterns. I can SO see a bunch of quilts from this!!

Have a great week! Let me know what cool things you find on line.

On Moving – Part 3

  So we’ve been in our new place for nearly two weeks, sleeping through the night, and hubby is about to start cutting back on his insulin, since his sugars are coming more under control. What is it about a place to live that appeals? I think I can kind of speak from experience, as I’ve lived a lot of places. When we bought our first home, that’s what young people did. The American Dream – you own a home. We were not employed regularly – I was substituting, and hubby was working on commission for an employment agency, but we qualified, and our first house payment for $325. Ten yeas later we were trying to sell in a depressed market….we’ve done that twice, now.

This home was about 1500 square feet. We couldn’t afford furniture for the whole place. We had three bedrooms…because that’s what everyone did. One was an office, and one was a spare room, even though we rarely had visitors. But it was a great open floor plan, and something we have looked for ever since. Of course we also had the autumn harvest gold appliances and green sculptured carpet…….

Our town home in Maryland also had a nice layout, open, good kitchen. We had a downstairs that we used for caning and sewing, as I was just getting in to quilting. The only thing we wished we had was an outdoor patio. We like sitting outside. Plus, nice walking in the area. One of the things we will always treasure about that place is that my in-laws spent six weeks with us there, with my father-in-law walking around most of Ellicott City.

The house we bought in Tucson also had an open floor plan, nearly 1300 square feet. We had a small backyard, and we were actually able to do some nice landscaping. Turned out quite lush, and with the spa, we really enjoyed being outside. But again, the neighborhood went down, and we were stuck in a slow market trying to sell.

After this house, we kind of got out of owning a home. Too much work and upkeep, so we looked at renting. We rented a house  that was HUGE – space for a wet marbling studio, a dyeing area, and a separate sewing room, plus a designated office. Old house in need of a lot of work. The rent was beyond us, for just having left the learning center and going back to teaching full time. That pretty much told us we needed to look at rents that were around $750, maybe a little more as my salary increased. Back yard here was worthless; pool had been filled in, no trees left, and just not comfortable.

What makes this new place so nice is what we decided we actually needed to be comfortable: a good studio space, in a second bedroom. We don’t have company a lot, and if our good Vermont friends come out, we’ll close up the cutting table and rent a double fold-away. Good light is critical, especially since we both have some decreasing vision issues. A kitchen that we can work in together: we just came from a galley kitchen where one person couldn’t get past the other. Open floor space, and a good outside area. We don’t need the upkeep of a yard, just a nice place to sit out. And – good wall space for our variety of art work. We actually have some space left over right now, and now we can look to buy some larger art work when we’re traveling.

A garage!!! More storage!

Our first breakfast nook - with tulips from our Cornville friends!

 

The Studio

A separate ironing area - no more setting up and taking down....

I have reclaimed my sewing table!

The energy feels just great – lots of light, good nights’ sleep, and room to move around. I’m going to start some vegetables when we get back from Seattle in our backyard, and if it works, we’ve got room for a compost container. Love this place!!

It All Started with the Yucca…..Wednesday Work in Progress

Albuquerque Outdoors - http://outdoors.itsatrip.org/

This new piece has had an interesting origin…..we were in Cornville , AZ visiting friends, and our driver wanted to stop in the high desert and see about getting some yucca stalks for walking sticks. If you look at the picture, the stalks are what’s left after the gorgeous blooms are done. They are evidently extremely strong and hold a lot of weight. So we have two collected stalks in the car, and I’m thinking, hmmmmm – these could make interesting wall hanging “hangers.” Turns out we got as a gift two really strong, perfect-height-for-hiking sticks from another friend we were off to visit, so I decided to keep these two, one as a walking stick for me (I just need it for balance) and one for a potential hanger for a wall piece.

I was looking at it today, as I was kicking around another weaving piece. It would make a good “topper” for a new piece. I had in mind a set of seasons pieces, and then suddenly I got the thought to create the fabric and weave them all together for a year of seasons.

Here are two samples of some of the weavings I have done with marbled fabrics. The first is my very beginning one, Gaia 1: Interdependence. The second is  Gaia 3: Autumn.

All of a sudden the design was in my head, and I sketched it out, something I don’t normally do. Here it is:

Creating the fabric will take some time, and I know with other projects in the pipeline, I won’t get to this until mid-September. Hubby is the main marbler, so he will have his work cut out for him. I will need to also watch the proportions in this piece – ever mindful of Michael Kors and Nina Garcia from Project Runway…..

Stay tuned for progress. In the meantime, here’s a few stories for past weavings in the Gaia series.

Sunday Stories: Autumn

Sunday Stories: Gaia 2

Sunday Stories: Gaia 1

Working on Goals – Revisited

  Retirement is amazing – all the time to create art and work on the art business.I’m very busy, one one of the things I let go was the notion of substitute teaching during retirement. Nope, don’t want to lose a day to the classroom and grief when I can be making art.

Spending the money to redo the studio was an excellent investment. It means we’re serious, plus the studio is so inviting – we WANT to be in there all the time. And once I started adding fresh flowers to the studio – well, the feng shui has been very conducive to creating.

I am certainly getting things done, but what I am finding is that I need to move to getting larger chunks of a goal done within a few days, rather than dragging it out over a couple of weeks, with just doing a piece here and there. I need to get it off my list, and I think this will work.

That said, one of my goals for this 100 days is three of the action plans in Alyson Stanfield‘s I’d Rather Be in the Studio! So as I was looking over Action Plan 1, I realized I have done pieces of this before, but not with these particular questions. I’ve looked at my target audience, my ideal customer, I’ve looked at overall goals, but never really defined success itself.

So that’s my task today. Alyson lists 20 areas to ruminate on concerning how you visualize success.

* Production of art: I want to make at least three major pieces (Gaia weavings) a year; spend time each week in the studio revising, finishing, working on at least a dozen smaller pieces. So far for this second half of the year, I think I am on track – I already have three smaller pieces just about completed, and one new major weaving sketched out.

* Quality of artwork: It’s very important to me, now that I have the time, to take some art classes, primarily studio art as opposed to art history (which I still would like to do). I want my work to be excellent and gallery-ready. I may still pursue a couple of show venues, but that’s not as important to me as it was. I want to continue to learn new techniques to include in new artwork. Both hubby and I are really looking to improve our marbling skills.

* Exhibition venues: As I said, not as important to me to enter juried shows. I want to find a couple of galleries to carry my work, beyond the website. I am entering a local show (not juried) for the possible connections, as well as seeing if I can make what is in my mind actually happen in the piece.

* Teaching venues and opportunities: hmmm, possibly, but not at this moment. I’ve done a number of local gigs over the years, but never really went prepared with stuff to sell. Maybe something to consider after I have all the other business pieces in place.

* Travel: oh, yeah, and not necessarily for business (but we always visit galleries). I want to get at least one big trip in each year. We always visit museums and galleries, so outlets for our work, as well as new ideas, are always part of our travel. We even have promo literature to take with us.

* Home, Studio, Environment: The studio makeover was critical, and it will more than pay for itself in productivity. We’re happy with our apartment and locale, although eventually we will move East again.

* Spirituality: I am practicing the principles of the Laws of Attraction and Abundance and I have been extremely pleased with my whole attitude change. I am reading Native Wisdom for White Minds by Anne Wilson Shaef, as I love the saying of our indigenous people around the world. And nothing beats standing and wondering at some amazing site in nature.

 * Health: major goal here, as I want to be around for a long time. I am taking steps to do what I need to, and hopefully with this 100 days I will see some good success.

* Leadership Roles: kinda done with this. That’s why I retired. I’m leading myself to success.

* Published Work: hmmmm. Something to think about, just not sure how I can turn the marbling into a successful book. Seems like the books that have been written about marbling and projects haven’t lasted long. And I’m not sure I want the pressure and deadlines of a book contract. Been there, done that.

* Visits to the website and blog: Numbers for the blog have been steadily increasing since I got back to blogging. The website has stayed pretty static, but I am not doing significant marketing on that yet. I’ve done some small revisions on the website, I still need to add new work, and I need to think through the purpose of the website. I want to see the blog traffic translate into sales.

* Subscribers to the newsletter: I am so lacking in this. I thought I had it under control last summer, but school hit and my time was no longer my own. I have signed up with Mail Chimp and am busy importing the addresses of subscribers so far. I want a schedule of every three weeks, but I need to spend time seriously looking at the content for the newsletter, plus be VERY prepared for this year’s holiday season.

* Social Media  connections: you can read about this progress on tomorrow’s blog. The only thing I haven’t seemed to master dealing with is Twitter.

* Sales of my book: Nope, but I’m going to change “book” to “patterns.” This is an area for long-term development. Two quilt patterns art in progress, and I need to refine my Polynomial Quilt pattern.

* Sales of my art: Definitely a big goal. I want our art business to help provide for travel in retirement. My immediate two-year goal is $1000 a month from the business.

* Grants received: another hmmm. Something to think about on down the future. I do have experience writing grants, so on down the road I will look at this.

* Articles by me: I did get paid abut 4 years ago for a series of articles on a quilting site. This will go on the long-term list of things to explore, as I do enjoy writing.

* Commissions: just finished my first big one, and I certainly want more. To this end I need to develop and promote my contacts and collectors lists. I need to put on the long-term list to check with the local and state  arts council for both grants and commissions.

* Public or private collections: not quite sure about this – something to think about.

* Licensing: this is a major one, and I have already identified some collections. I need to begin fleshing these out till I have at least 10 developed, and then I’m going looking for an agent.

* Volunteer work: I added this one, as I want to donate time and art to a local organization called Ben’s Bells. Very worthy, and I want to help. Also, I want to continue the work for Art from the Heart (see top right of this page) to help promote peace.

If all of this intrigues you, you can pick up Alyson‘s book. WELL WORTH the investment in yourself and your art.

 

 

 

 

 

100 Day Challenge – Season 1

Monday was the 100th day of Season 1 in the Cocreating Our Reality Challenge to practice the Law of Attraction and Abundance and bring more into your life. It has been a pretty amazing 100 days. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have been more than converted to positive thinking and goal-setting for what we would like to attract into our lives.

I started by setting some goals. I really gave some thought to these, as I tend to blow off this part of an exercise. What I have realized as these 100 days went by is that I dreamed too small. I am now thinking about a new set of goals for these next 100 days and Season 2, and I want to think bigger – I WILL think bigger.

The goals for the first season:

Order storage and redesign the apartment for better creativity and “flowing” work space; well, I redesigned the studio and spent money to buy better storage. The difference is amazing – more productivity, better sense of energy flow through the space, everything has its place, and I am more productive. In fact, I have an organized marketing notebook that seems to be working to guide me through what I want to accomplish.

Break 200 pounds by August 8; hasn’t happened. I have spent more time working on being positive about my body image and what I really want to accomplish with this goal. I am trying to be positive. I have spent over half my life overweight, and I am not expecting miracles, but I know healthwise this has to happen. So I need to get rid of the negativity in that last sentence and expect miracles. I KNOW I can do this.

Dream/think regularly about money coming to me; this took a while for me to work on. I am not used to thinking about money coming to me all the time. Usually it’s about how I need to have enough money to pay the bills. This is a major mental change. And there is money in the bank, the bills are paid, and two trips are planned. That Law of Abundance check only took one month for me to see how it works. I am hooked on those checks. I also am learning to recognize when my thinking is somewhat pessimistic about money, and I am trying to change that vibration.

Set up tutoring goals; I updated my Linked In profile to reflect the tutoring, and I have had business cards made, as well as asked for some recommendations for my skills from Linked In. I have been putting off a brochure, primarily because school is just now starting. I have realized that I am not at all enthused about either substitute teaching or even tutoring because it would take away from my time on my other pursuits. Definitely no subbing in the future for me, but I need to rethink the tutoring.

Plan my life after teaching (retirement); this is working very well. I have had to change my sleep schedule since I don’t need so much sleep, which has been challenging. I am marketing, sewing, designed, taking art classes, reading – all the things I said I wanted to do.

Get back to blogging on a regular basis;  I’m doing this pretty successfully on this blog, not so much with the art blog and the weight loss blog. But the focus for all of this is to build the art business to help support retirement (which seems to be happening), so I am focusing on this blog. The numbers have grown from just over 500 in June to over 800 for the last 30 days. Definite progress.

Make conscious plans and activities to work for peace. This has to become a priority for the next 100 days. I haven’t done anything this season, but I have been thinking about what I want to do. Now I have to implement the plans.

NEXT SEASON’S CHALLENGE GOALS, starting Monday, August 15 and ending November 19:

Break 200 pounds.

Enjoy life through a couple of trips and dinners/other social engagements with friends: San Diego, Austin, Houston, New Orleans.

Finish “Artists Revisited” class, complete with the new quilt.

Help with Tikkun Olam show at the Jewish Community Center.

Plan for additional income each month through the business; the goal is to beat the previous month (August should beat July, and so on).

Take three tutoring clients in mathematics.

Update Art from the Heart website and make plans for entries for the first anniversary of the Tucson shootings.

Sewing projects: Tikkun Olam, Wayne Art Center, Betty’s commission, small rhythm piece, fish quilt redone, deer quilt finished, three additional quilt projects to be determined.

Complete the first three action plans in I’d Rather Be In the Studio by Alyson Stanfield.

Maintain goals through the Multiple Streams of Income class and set new 90-day goals.

Market the gift basket through Marble-T Design and sell at least four.

And so it goes……

 

 

 

The Studio Reveal……

As of yesterday I was finally able to finish the studio remake by actually cleaning off my sewing table, which had become the repository for all the loose ends. I can finally start working again. Hubby marbled on Thursday and enjoyed having a more organized and larger space. Here’s the “before” pictures….

We have (well, had – it’s gone the way of Craig’s List) lots of storage shelves that could be configured in a variety of ways. This is most of the marbling stuff, just kind of packed into various boxes, and not really easy to find anything. The shelves continue next to it, with more cloths, plastic, and trays. We had more of this shelving in the closet.

So much storage in the closet – lots of different containers and boxes collected over the years – fabric is kind of organized by color, but it’s a pain to get to. To the left is an old baker’s rack (like about 36 years old – from before I got married, and it has a new home).

The small chest of drawers belonged to my dad – it is now in the closet, with all the cloths and plastic and towels. Much easier to get to things and it’s now keeping everything more organized.

This was the worst part of the studio – my actual sewing area. I felt enclosed and couldn’t really move around. It was not a comfortable area, and this was the main reason for re-doing the studio.

And now……

This is where all the marbling supplies were – in storage that is more efficient and actually takes up less floor space. I have fabric out by color, files from school, art supplies in one of the canvas storage bags, and patterns all sorted.

My sewing table is now under the window with much better light and room to move around. I am now right next to the cutting board and ironing board. Art books and lots more storage.

You can see more of the sewing area here.

Hubby in his new space, organizing the latest marbled fabrics. Lots of stuff is stored under that cutting table! You’ll see some of the fabric up on eBay this week……

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

Last week I show the beginnings of my Ice quilt, to complement the Desert Heat quilt I made. I went to Girls’ Night Out at the LQS last Saturday and got a lot of quilting done. I then decided what to select for the first interior border. THe cool thing with the Deat quilt is the inner border really is unexpected. The blue really sets things off nicely.

For the Ice quilt I decided to look for a yellow to represent the very weak winter sun, especially being from New England! You can see the yellows I pulled from the stash. I decided to go with the middle one because it was pale, and there is some very interesting texture within the fabric itself, with brighter yellows in a few places.

Here is the finished center. It is fairly “cold” and rigid, which of course is what ice is. Hopefully by next week I’ll have the flying geese borders on as the next step.

Also this week I have been having some fun with the Sketchbook Challenge. I uploaded my first pic to Flickr and got some very nice feedback. I was so pleased with the first one that I had trouble sleeping, because I kept thinking of more things that are “highly prized,” and I wanted to get to work on them. So far this week I have a zentangled book, which I love!

And then, since I am working on trying to keep balance in my life, I went for the yin-yang symbol. I kept only two patterns, one straight and one curved. I’m liking what I can accomplish with these patterns. I think  a music note and the comedy/tragedy masks might be next.

Send me some links to see your sketches if you’re doing the Challenge. You can click on the link on the right to get to information about the Sketchbook Challenge. I am also thinking of looking into 3 Creative Studios for their Journal Quilt Challenge, and potentially their color challenge. I just want to keep myself motivated and try some new ideas, but no pressures on me – if I do it, fine, and if not, fine also.

A Productive Session…


We had an extremely productive marbling session today – we have an order for 400 pieces in time to be repackaged for the Houston International Quilt Festival. We did 200 today in a whole lot less time than we planned on it taking. Now, at 11:30 in the morning, we are starting the ironing portion of the process. We’ll only need to marble one more time to complete this order, and then we have another large order for Australia to complete.

It certainly is nice getting business again. Dean has been burning sage on a regular basis – I need to do more house cleaning to add my part to the feng shui. But most of all it is great to be able to marble again like we used to. I miss the chiffon, but I can live without it, since we can do fabulous cotton and silks again. Our crazy quilt remnant bags sell well, so whenever we have mixed fabrics, we put up a couple of those.

The lady in Texas who is getitng all these pieces will be hard-pressed not to keep a bunch of them – the reds this time around worked really well, and I had good luck with some really nice autumn groupings. Now if I can just get back to some quilting. I HAVE to finish my Mesa presentation this weekend…..

Frustrations


Now that I am on spring break, I have time to sleep and do art. But I managed to end the evening in a state of frustration because, once again, I ran into something I don’t know how to do with Photoshop. I have to keep reminding myself I have learned lots and I have to just be patient.

Last night I started with another Photoshop activity, trying to improve my skills with snowflakes. I discovered I made the sections too big, and I got frustrated, trying to figure out how to shrink the image. Then I tried a new one, made lots more progress, and discovered I had stained glass tiles rather than snowflakes – which is fine, as I am thinking of doing some math work with tesselations.

The problem came when I tried filling small areas with the paint bucket. I kept redoing the spots, and kept having the same problem. Frustrating…..

This morning as I am pondering the problem, I think I have a fix for it – I need to fill everything (on a new layer, which I kept forgetting to do last night) and then move the layer so only the color I want in the spaces I want shows. I will try that tonight.

Meantime, I have some serging to do, as we have a new silk order coming in, and I need to experiemtn with edges on silk. This could be a nice break for the business. That’s why I bought that really ugly frog in Chinatown in LA. Come on, feng shui!

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