Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The ART of shameless self promotion for those who hate to Self promote - Basic Tips - Part 1

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Just this week I received the following email from Patsy J.  This type of email is one I get frequently asking for advice.

Ms. Peterson, I'm sure you won't remember me but I wrote you a couple of years back and told you how much your book helped me as I started the new (to me) process of making jewelry.
I've had some success with home shows and a couple of bazaars.  I'm now on Facebook and Etsy.com but I'm having a great deal of difficulty selling my items.
I would appreciate any advice or guidance you could give me marketing skills.  Has been very discouraging as I love making jewelry but it's piling up around me.
I'm not into a BIG business mode and don't wish to do so.  Perhaps you could suggest reading material to help us hobby/sellers do a better job of marketing.
I personally find Etsy's site so large that items get lost in the site.
I'm sure you're a very busy woman and will understand if you don't have time to respond.
I'm in the Mountainburg, AR area about 40 miles north of FSM and it seems the market is hard to reach.
Also, I think the hand-made jewelry market might be "glutted".
Thank you again and I still refer to your book.

This particular is kind of two posts in one - Partly my weekly  Soul Journal   art journaling post and the other part advice on some shameless self promotion.

Today especially, has not been a kind day in my world.  Opportunities that once presented themselves are gone - who know's if it's temporary or permanent, but none the less a disappointing day.  The journal page I created for my Soul Garden Journal isn't pretty - just like my day hasn't been pretty but it's how you handle disappointments that give you strength and it's the size of your dreams that keep you pressing forward. So...let's press on...

Sometimes when we put ourself out into the online world and don't see much in return, it gets disappointing.   It's not uncommon and your not alone! Creative promotion requires dreams, strength and determination and a willingness to learn and put forth effort and time.


 Yes, I know these are basic no brainers, but sometimes we - even me - forget the basics of self promotion.
As a creative person, I need to keep things simple and plain...so here it is...simple and plain...

  • Create business cards -This seems like a no-brainer, but take some time to create business cards that are really eye catching and that say something about the brand you are creating. 
  •  Have your business cards available at all times, in your handbag, computer bag, checkbook and car.   A very cheap way to advertise your creative business! Give these out like Candy. 
  •  Make sure that when you make a sale - online or in person, everyone has a business card.  I use vistaprint.com.  Make sure your business cards have your email, website addresses. (I personally don't put my phone number or address - I can always hand write that if I need to on the back of the card)  
  • With technology the way it is today, you can even place a qr code on it for the potential buyer to scan with their smartphone.  (google qr code generator)
  • Get email address of your customers. You should be keeping emails from every online sale and from every arts and craft show you attend. 
  • Let your customers  know that you won't sell their email to anyone, you just want to let them know where you will be and what merchandise you will have for sale.
  • Send a friendly email in advance of your events whether it's online or in person. 
  •  To know how effective your email campaign is, offer a coupon for maybe free shipping with a $25 purchase or perhaps $5 off a purchase of $25.  This way you can gauge which email campaigns are effective and which are not.
  • Be out there with your brand constantly.  Think about how many times in one hour you see a certain ad on TV.  You don't have to be "that" annoying, but you do have to let your customers know you're there.  They will forget you very easily unless you do!  Facebook, Twitter and blogging are all effective ways to stay in touch with your customers and followers.
  •  If you don't have a blog - get one - more on this in a later post.
  • Toot your horn! Yes, it is hard to promote yourself, but if you don't toot your horn, no one else will.  
  • Take advantage of press releases and your local newspaper or TV stations.
  • Especially during craft show season, why not send a press release to a local newpaper letting them know you are going to be there?  Maybe you have a unique art, or maybe you have a unique story about how you create your art.  SHARE IT! 
  • Don't feel that you are bugging the editor, look it as an opportunity to help them by giving them content that they don't have to spend time looking for or writing.  Almost all newspapers have websites.  Look for a link that gives you information about editorial submissions, then email the editor.  If all else fails, call them.  They will be glad to help you.  It's FREE ADVERTISING! and they may show up in person to get your story! More free advertising!
  • Make it easy for your followers to find you.  Put a link on your website or blog to your online stores, share these links on your social media pages.  People are more apt to click on your links if its easy for them to find and they don't have to search.  They're also curious to see what you have.  LINK LINK LINK
  • In recent posts, I've shared tips on photography. I take pictures of every single thing I create Beautifully styled photos are especially important if you are selling your work online thru Etsy, ebay or any other online avenue. 
My Crafty Friend Margot Potter has created an E-Book on Shameless Self Promotion. She shares great tips! She's a pro promoting herself as an artist and she will be the first to tell you - ITS HARD WORK!

Just like Miss Patsy, I too have an etsy store called Sweet Antiqs.  It's easy for your store to get lost in the giant world of Etsy.  There are so many stores, with so many beautiful handmade items. Promoting yourself on Etsy is a whole blog post in itself.

ETSY:  To give you some quick ideas, Etsy has offered a Sellers Handbook to help you get started.  Community is very important with Etsy.  I also find that I get more hits to my store when I am constantly listing new items. I then blog about them and make sure to post them on Facebook.   Unfortunately due to the nature of my business, this goes in spurts.  I personally look at etsy as a gallery of my items.  I have picked up wholesale accounts and other types of work just from having my handmade jewelry designs in my store.  

WHOLESALE:  You may want to look at local resources and connect with boutiques and gift shops that are interested in selling unique one of a kind items made by you.  I find, for me personally, this is a better use of my time.  Because stores are more apt to take several pieces at a time, I find I can keep on creating without it piling up.  I'm also willing to give wholesale prices because I can sell several items at once. Again this is a whole other blog post that I'll share in the future.  

I know this information maybe overwhelming.  It was for me at first.  Just take it one step at a time.  Working a creative business is really a labor of love.  It takes LOTS of time to design, create, photograph, upload, list, promote and so on.  Be consistent. Be patient and don't get discouraged - It's all a work in progress.

Thank you Miss Patsy for the email, as I write this, I realize that there is much more I could say on the subject and I will in future posts.  

Please subscribe to the blog so you don't miss any future updates.

To your success - to all of our successes!!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Photographing your Artwork Part Two - 8 Advanced Techniques

Yesterday, I gave some basic photography tips to get you started.  If you simply want to share photos with family and friends, then the basics are all you will need.    However, if you want sell your work, such as on etsy, consider implicating these more advanced tips.

Pictures can express feeling and emotion and they can create an impulse to buy...or a emotion of "I just gotta have that!"

So, with that thought in mind here is some more advanced lighting  tips.

How to Elimate Hard shadows and hard light:  Use diffusers to create soft light.  You can do this by placing a white shower curtain over a brightly lit window.  Or you can purchase a photography studio box for about $40 to $50.  These boxes have fabric on each side for you to diffuse light through.  This lessens harsh and undesirable shadows.  I have also created a square frame with inexpensive pvc pipe and covered it with a shower curtain or light fabric.

Avoid using a flash as this creates harsh shadows.

Play with the more advanced exposure settings on your camera.  If you find yourself in a low lit area, instead of turning on lights, which can effect the white balance, try increasing the "exposure" setting on your camera by a notch or two.  Take a test photo to see if the lighting is adequate.

Use a mirror to bounce light underneath objects to highlight the bottom or take away harsh shadows.  For a softer look, use white card stock to bounce light around and add a little highlight to certain areas.

Style your photographs:  Styling your jewelry or projects can really upscale their value.  For ideas on how to style your jewelry, look at jewelry or fashion magazines for ideas.  You don't need to spend a fortune on props.  Have a look around the house and get a little creative with your imagination.  Perhaps you have a vase that you can dangle some earrings from?  Or a nice simple wine glass?  Sand?  Rocks? Seashells, bottles, pretty paper and believe it or not, rice and black beans are great options too!.

FOCUS FOCUS!  Pay special attention to your focus settings.  Small pictures can look in focus but when enlarged to full size can be way out of focus.  Put your focus on the most interesting part of the subject.

Take several photo's from different angles - this will give you more photos to choose from and your potential customer a better idea of the pride you put in your work and know exactly what they are receiving.

Adjust your lighting if necessary in a photo editing program such as photo shop.  I always re-size my photos and check the lighting in my photographs.  I try to bring the photograph in line with the actual colors I see.  This is easy to do with the "auto color correction" option in photoshop elements.  I also make sure that you can see all the detail and that lighten the photograph if I need to.


Let's put those tips into practice.

Here Shari Wallace of WolfCreek Designs on etsy uses sand to stylize her photograph.  She's displayed the bracelet on a rock, which adds a nice effect without being overpowering.

 Jana Ewy of Just Bananas always does a great job of stylizing her artwork in her photos.  Here's she's used some inexpensive pebbles to add an organic touch. 

Notice that neither of these photos have harsh shadows and both are in clear focus.

I believe if you put these few tips into practice, you'll really make your artwork shine!!!

Both of these artists feature Friendly Plastic in their artwork!  Check out more of their work on the Friendly Plastic blog!

Here's other Friendly Plastic links you might enjoy:

Linda Peterson is compensated and endorsed by AMACO. The guests features may or may not have any affiliation with AMACO.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

TAKE BETTER PICTURES- 6 Tips to Photographing your artwork

linda peterson designs - sweet antiqs on etsy

In the recent day's I've received a lot of email from beginners asking me about taking photographs.  As we all know a photo is worth a thousand words.  It's your photographs that tell the story, about you, about your style and about your artwork.

It's important - very important - to take good photographs of your work - Why? Because it shows who you are as an artist.

A good clear photo will show all the details in your artwork that you took so much time to create.
A good styled photo says -I really care about the details, my work is outstanding! I take pride in my work!

Here are 6 EASY Tips to help you take better pictures if you are just beginning:

  1. Select a digital camera that will do nice close up (macro) shots.  This is very important.
  2. Hold the camera steady - if you can't, consider using a tripod and the timer button on the camera
  3. Use a simple background.  A light grey, black or light blue works well.  As an option you could use a pretty piece of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper with a gentle pattern.  Stay away from pure white as this tends to confuse the camera and sends the white balance in a tizzy.
  4. Use natural lighting if at all possible.  Shoot by a window, but not in direct sunlight.  You can also take your project outside and choose a nice shady spot.  This helps avoid shadows.  Lighting is so important - so give attention to this particular tip! 
  5. For nice detail, shoot the photo in as high of resolution that your camera will allow.  Mine is 8mp.  The higher the megapixel the more detail in your photo when enlarged. 
  6. Here's an important one.....if emailing your photo to your Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook or to me to share, please resize the photo down to an "email version".  Most photo editing programs will allow you to resize these photos to send quickly over the internet.  If you are using Photoshop, simply click on FILE then SAVE FOR THE WEB and this will do the trick!!  
Here's some samples that put these techniques into practice!

I photographed this on a patterned piece of scrapbook paper.  While the paper has a light pattern to it, it doesn't detract from the Friendly Plastic pendant.

 You can see that the patterned background that I used above would not be a good choice for displaying a variety of beads, such as these beads created by Liz Welch.  She effectively used a lighter grey background to highlight each and every bead.

 This is an example of a close up photo.  Liz used a black background to make the individual bead stand out.  The photo is clear.  Just a word of caution, be careful using black backgrounds, since they could come off as greys, blues or purples. 

Have fun with the photography and stay tuned tomorrow as I give some more advanced tips!

For More time saving tips check out these links:

5 Tried and True Tips on where to find inspiration for your craft projects
5 Tried and True tips on getting out of a creative slump

Linda Peterson is compensated and endorsed by AMACO. The guests features may or may not have any affiliation with AMACO.>

Monday, January 21, 2013

Art Journal for the soul though life lessons - Soul Garden Project

Doing a little "morphing" of my Soul Journal Project.  Originally I thought I would think of a word a week and use that as inspiration.  But as I delve deeper into this journey, I find that art journaling is about what you are feeling at any given moment.  So, with that, on Monday's I will still post snippits of my art journaling journey, but the rest of the week...well it may or may not be the same theme as the Monday Post.

I use my art journal as a "safe" creative place. A place where I can try out techniques and not worry if they are pretty or not.  Not every page will turn out beautiful, but when I'm finished with it at the end of the year, the entire collection will be a collaborative beautiful work of art at least in my eyes.

Now you may be wondering why I put up this quote for today.  The words that describe what lessons I learned this weekend are:


As you know, I'm the moderator of the Friendly Plastic blog and the idea of that is to promote everything related to Friendly Plastic.  So, when a post flowed its way into my facebook, someone made a comment "UGLY - what a waste - JMHO",  I immediately took action.  And apparently, many of you share my feelings as well.  You can read the all the comments here.

I know when you put your artwork out there, it's like wearing your heart on your sleeve, you open yourself up to judgement. I get it...I accept it.   But what I couldn't figure out for the life of me was why someone would feel the need to go so far as to call someone else's artwork UGLY - in such a public way. Though I did not create the artwork, I took it personally.

My Momma always told me "Linda, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".  And one things that taught me is, we all have our own perspective of beauty.  What we may LOVE, other's may not love so much.  But, we should be devoted to building one another up, not tearing down.  I always find a way to find something beautiful out of things that aren't necessarily my taste and style.

And so that's the inspiration for my journal page today.  I devoted just 30 minutes to it.

First of all here's a photo of my workspace.  The other day I shared a tip of getting back to your creative mojo and so I wanted to show you that I only have a few supplies out on my work table.

art journaling linda peterson

It really does help when you set a limit on your supplies.
Next begin your background - I have markers, gesso, and Ranger Adirondack Color Wash Dyes handy (love the color washes).

art journal techniques linda peterson soul garden

I'm journaling in an old book (pick up one for $1 at a thrift shop).  Now to be fair, last week I had already placed this image transfer on the page.  I'll share the technique on how to do this later this week.

The colors I used are simply the colors I have the most of. I went over the pages with a light gesso just by using my finger, no special painting technique.  Then, I sprayed on color washes and let them drip as they dry they will streak.

art journal techniques linda peterson

Next add some texture.  Here I added some paper doilies.  They're really inexpensive - pick them up at the dollar store.   I also have a victorian calendar that I photo copied for the floral elements.  I picked up the calendar at a garage sale.  I love collecting ephemra!

I also punched some holes and laced them up with some rainbow colored ribbon.
Painted and outlined the word love and in general just added a few more grungy elements.

art journal love page techniques linda peterson

I briefly wrote about my experience this weekend....and now I'm on to the next project! :)

Here's the other pages in my Soul Journal Project

The Fear of Fear and Art Journaling Prompts

Dreaming in Far Away Places - Soul Garden Art Journal Prompts

Dreams into plans!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

5 tried and true tips on where to find inspiration for your craft projects

My main focus in this blog is to share.  Share life, share creativity..share, share, share!  So I'm going to make a special effort this year to really give lots of goodies to you my readers.  I do believe that if you give of yourself, the rewards are great.  As always, you'll see lots of craft projects, tutorials, videos, but I also want to include pages like this one with simple easy to follow tips, and of course, I'll be sharing my Soul Garden journey as well.

If you have a crafty question, ask! If you need help on a project - ask! If you want feedback - ask.  I'm willing to help.

Recently, I posted 5 tried and true tips on how to get out of a creative slump.  Or in other words, how do you get your crafty mojo back?  I use all those tips and they are a good reminder even for me.

I'm so with you on creative messes...just look at this mess! This is what happened when I was in the middle of writing my Making Beads with Polymer Clay book.

But now that you've cleaned up your work space and you're feeling the need to be creative, what to do?

Friends ask me all the time, where do you come up with all of your craft ideas? And so for this post, I thought I would share my real insider look at how I come up with ideas, or actually, how I use common everyday things around me to be inspired.

Before the days of Pinterest (you can take a look at what inspires me) - which I love and you should too, I did things the old fashioned way.  I cut stuff out of magazines and catalogs, pasted them on paper and stuck them in a binder.  I still do this!


I keep my lists to 5 - because five to me is do-able and not overwhelming.  So here they are - my 5 ways to get inspired:

  1. Private Quiet Time - In order to be inspired, you need to think.  Personally, I can't think or focus when there is too much commotion going on around me.  I carve out a few minutes a day for quiet time.  Generally, I do this in the morning when I take a bath.  I grab a magazine and read.  Even if you take a shower, just carve out some time to just think about your happy place, visualize it and describe it in your mind.  What would it look like, where would it be, what would I hear, what would I smell?  just let your mind relax - clear your head.
  2. Pinterest:  If you don't have a pinterest account email me and I will send you a personal invite to get one.  You need one!  This is a great clutter free way to organize all the things that you love.  And really aren't we inspired by things we love?  You can organize recipes, household tips, craft tips, things you want to make, colors you love - I think you get the idea.  It's on your computer and it's clutter free.
  3. Keep an inspiration binder or board.  This in itself is a mini way of art journaling. (I'm on a soul journal project mission that you can see here) You can make notes in your binder, doodles, sketches etc.  I love crafty magazines, home decor magazines and fashion magazines, but they pile up.  I have found myself in the past keeping a magazine because I wanted the ONE ARTICLE.  Well...that did nothing for my clutter problem, so now, I have no problem going thru a magazine, tearing out the pages I like or cutting out the photographs that speak to me and putting them in my binder in categories - like jewelry, home decor etc.  When I need some specific inspiration, I go to my binder and have a look - This gets my creative side of the brain flowing, keeps down the clutter  It also helps me keep up with trends - which is a whole other post.
  4. Take a walk - Mother nature is a natural artist.  If you need ideas for color combinations, go outside.  Look at the texture of the leaves, look at the colors that Mother Nature combines together.  Notice the different shades and tones.  Pic up some rocks you like for their texture, look at the flowers, hear the birds, get some fresh air.  It's also stress relieving and it's a great way to clear your mind. 
  5. Go Shopping - but don't buy anything!  WHAT! don't buy anything?  Yes, I mean go with the intent and purpose on looking at things for the purpose of creativity.  One of my favorite stores to shop when I need inspiration is Pier One or Kirklands.  They are on trend, you'll get loads of ideas that you can translate into your own diy projects and lots of color inspiration too.  Keep a small notebook in your handbag to jot down or sketch any ideas that come to mind. If you are looking for jewelry ideas, I love Charming Charlie - they group everything by color!
Here's a bonus hint:

When I'm making something, I like to put my own personal flair into the project.  Lots of times I'll gather things - objects, photos, pictures from magazines that relate to a subject and a color scheme.  I arrange these around my workspace and literally stare at them for a few minutes and let my mind wander.  I think about what I like about each photo or object.  Then I combine what I like together into the finished piece.  I'm not a sketcher, I don't normally sketch things or think things through totally at first.  I do them and I tend to let the piece evolve.  Most of the time it looks nothing like any of the photographs.

There is amazing inspiration everywhere we look, anywhere we are - you just have to train your eye to see it.  Dana sometimes gets frustrated with me because I'm always looking at things and turning them into craft projects.  My mind never stops working on crafty things.  

Where do you find inspiration? leave your comments below :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Top 5 tried and true tips for getting out of a creative slump!

Particularly this week, I've had a lot of creative ideas of diy projects swimming around in my head, but I find that once I get into my studio it's hard to focus on the exact craft project I want to do.  And beyond that, I just sit and stare, feeling so much less creative than I did before I came into the studio. It's frustrating!

I've narrowed this feeling down to simply being overwhelmed and surrounded by too much crafty goodness - and yes, I do believe you can have too much around you.

So, here's my top 5 helpful tips to get you out of your creative slump - I've personally live by these.

  1. DECLUTTER - Clean your workspace.  I like to have EVERYTHING around me, all the tools, all the products, all the trinkets, everything, but what that adds up to is clutter.  Yes, I said it...clutter! And I am the clutter queen!  De-clutter your workspace and you will de-clutter your mind.  Try to keep out only those tools necessary for the job - no more and no less. Since I have remodeled my studio space and everything has a place, I find much more ready to work when I begin at a clean space.  
  2. Select a creative theme of the day.  Instead of thinking about all the projects you want to do, narrow it down to ONE.  Unless you are an octopus and have eight arms, which I doubt, you're really only going to be able to accomplish only one project at a time.  Maybe you feel like working on jewelry? or you want to try a specific technique?  so set a priority, which one do you feel most inspired to work on now? Which one needs to be done before a specific time? Which one do I have all the materials for?  or Which one can be done in the amount of time you have to devote to the project.  Make a list if you have to and prioritize.
  3. Schedule time to play and not make anything.  Give yourself permission to just play.  What if I add some water to paint, put it in a squirt bottle and spray it thru a stencil?  What if it drips, what if...what if... what if.... What if I mix water, dishwashing liquid and paint?  Will it make it less drippy? I don't know, and don't ask someone else the answer, find out yourself, just play! Make mistakes, try to figure them out and most of all have fun and ask lots of WHAT IF questions.
  4. Limit your tools or supplies - part of being overwhelmed is that you simply are trying to use too much of what you have.  Limit your tools, supplies or color theme to just a few - maybe 5.  I promise you will find yourself more creative when you have less to work with because you will need to be more resourceful with your craft supplies.  This is often the time when I find new ways to use things or discover new techniques and happy accidents.  I discovered this really works especially when I am traveling and can only take so much with me.  Improvising with your craft supplies lends itself to creativity.
  5. Try the craft that scares you to death!  Doing the same ole same ole gets boring and it doesn't make you expand your creative mind.  I get bored very very easily.  So my suggestion to getting out of crafty rut is to try the craft that you know - or you feel you are most likely to fail at.  When I first learned how to sculpt with clay - it scared me to death, but I did it anyways.  I made little doll figurines and I loved them at the time. I made more and more and more and got better and better and even though the first polymer clay dolls I did are a face only a mother can love, I love the fact that I tried.  Don't be afraid to fail.  Failures lead to success if  you just get up, brush off your crafty self and try and try again.  
I have to remind myself to live by my rules, so these reminders are just as much for me as they are for you too!  

The last couple of day's I've been busy designing new jewelry pieces for RESTORE in Nixa, the cute little boutique full of one of a kind and unusual finds. If you're somewhat local to the Springfield, Missouri - Nixa Area - you can find these designs and more at Restore - on S. Main in Nixa 

Thought I'd give you a glimpse into what I've made.  If you're needing a gift for someone special, or you just want to treat yourself, I'd be delighted to make something special just for you - just email me

My jewelry ranges in the $25-50 range - all unique and one of a kind pieces.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A little Walk for the soul.... + Charlie Bears MeerKat impression

I've finally learned .....okay...well maybe I'm doing good at practicing patience!  I've always been the hurry up and get it done...need those results yesterday kinda person. 

Now, I'm focusing on the "turtle" ....the slow and steady wins the race.  That's why this year I've set some very - very SMALL goals which add up to the big ones...

One is weight loss....so many people make that new years resolution - me among them -  and then fall off the bandwagon - me among them....when we don't see results as soon as we thought we would....just remember ...slow and persistant.... I'm happy to say that I am now 15lbs lighter than last month.....

Generally everyday my neighbor, gets up super early....heads outside and takes a brisk walk or climb or whatever he does carrying 40 or so pounds on his back... For the most part, getting up before the sun rises and being excited about going outside in the frigid cold seems a little bizzarre to me..but today he wrote about having your body reward you with some feel good hormones.....and I thought...yeah..after the week I've had...that's what I want...some feel good hormones...

So....(thank you Isaac) I decided to try on my brush pants  (yeah they fit!), put on my brush boots...and took a walk thru the brush in the back 40 as we call it...up and down hills, ledges...climbing over stuff...breathing in the cool brisk air.....took in the sights of the birds playing and singing....listened to the crunching of the leaves under my feet and found a piece of really interesting moss covered bark that I'll use as a jewelry  prop.  I walked about 30 minutes...and probably just a little over a mile....but the best part was...I felt great and I got some of those feel good hormones too!!  It just made my day happier and better....and it gives me something to add to my soul garden journal for the day :)

I spent much of the day making jewelry for Restore - the little upscale boutique that carries my jewelry.  Worked with some copper and did some soldering.  Check out my etsy store

And Charlie...well...it's been a week since that ordeal and I think he's learned his lesson!
Here he is doing his best meer cat impression!
He's knows I can't resist that adorable personality.......and yes...he got his favorite potato chips!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Fear of Fear - Soul Journal Project - Art Journaling Prompts

Did a little artful journaling today and alot of experimenting with texture and technique. 
I stripped the top layer off some cardboard to reveal the texture below it.  Today I especially felt the need to work with my hands so all the painting was done with my fingers.

At the top left of the picture is the backside of the postcard that I gave away as a freebie.  I turned it into a transfer using gloss gel medium.  Ohh it is sooo easy and addictive! 
I'm really enjoying all the quotes in my journals and the personal thoughts I'm putting in there....

Monday, January 14, 2013

Soul Journal Week 3 - Fear - Afraid to ask questions.... + Free Polymer Clay Polar Bear Project

I've got to play
a little catch up this week in my art journal since last week I was down with the flu.

I think sometimes I may be my own worst enemy.  Are you like me and sometimes hate to ask questions because you don't want to be rejected?  or you know you don't want to hear the answer?

Fear gets in my way too.  But last week, my little Charlie adventure taught me to be persistant and to not give up, even if the answers aren't what I want to hear exactly, I need to hear them, so I can make changes and get to where I want to go.

It's all part of the soul garden soul searching.....

I'm working this week on my next Create and Craft show.  I have my Sweet Antiq's vintage findings going to make their debut on there hopefully next month. 

I'm excited about the opportunities that I have ahead of me...and I'll share those when I can....and I promise to ask questions despite the answers!

Today's one of the coldest days of the year so I thought you all might enjoy a little wintery Polar Bear Project from my Project of the Month Club. - CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A sweet ending to an otherwise bitter week! + Free Ephemra - Vintage French Postcard

Sometimes ...okay not sometimes....almost always...when you plant a garden, you get weeds.  And that's what this week was like in my soul garden journey...full of weeds!  
I don't like to complain, but it was just down right rotten.  Dana came down sick with the flu this week, 102 fever and all.....and so did I.  It's not often that Dana is sick in bed and he will NEVER give up a hunting trip...so when both of those occur, you know he's down for the count!

The next weed in the journey was Tuesday when my Dad called and asked for Mariah to come stay with him and help him because he was sick.  He NEVER asks for help...he's stubborn and doesn't want help...so you can bet that I rushed Mariah right over there to take care of him!  I also made it very plain that he was NOT to go to work on Wednesday night - I would do that for him.....

Now it's Wednesday, things are somewhat normal...I'm working in the studio...I let my Baby Bear Charlie outside to play and do his business...I'm not feeling all that great...but not all that bad either.  I go to work for Dad, I come home....look on the couch...see Maggie our bird dog and say...Where's Charlie Bear?
Dana replied...I don't know, I thought he was with you?!?!?!  PANIC! 

It's now 8:30 at night, we live in the country, it's pitch black, I grab a spotlight and head out to find Baby bear...I call and call...i walk and walk...I spotlight as far as I can see....No baby bear....my heart sinks.....and the flu is setting in.......
There's nothing I can do until daylight...I've been everywhere he would have gone....
At first light on Thursday, Dana and I are up, dressed......It's cold and rainy, my chest is aching and burning from coughing....but I have to find Baby Bear!...

We have 170 acres of field behind the house.  We get Maggie, our trained bird dog, and set out to find Charlie.  We call and call...maggie is sniffing every where...conditions are perfect for a dog scent...
But no baby bear.....We get in the car and go all over the neighborhood....
I'm now running a fever.....

After 4 hours of searching we come back home....I feel miserable...physically and at heart....I make posters and then set out to all the vets in the area to hang them.....

I come back home about 3 pm - it's over a day since we've seen him....my fever is 102...I have to go to bed, I can't go anymore.......I am just sick....beyond sick....this is the worst...

Early Friday morning the vets office called... "A lady living near Sparta saw a dog today that matched Charlies description..."  "That's 10 miles away" I said.  But the lady said, "who knows maybe someone picked him up and dropped him off" ...It's worth a try!...Miraculous healing! (sorta) I popped up and told Dana.  we both agreed that we had to try....so out the door to the area where he was spotted....hopeful...yet...trying not to get our hopes up to be let down again.....I leave cards in doors with his picture.....We come home empty handed.......

I have to get some things done today...but all I can do is look out the window and hope that I'll see him coming over the hill towards home....It's now 48 hours since we've seen him.... I'm trying to cope with not seeing him again.........

The phone rings....it's Dana making is usual phone call while he's waiting to pick the kids up from school.  He's been awesome through this...searching...calling me ...trying to comfort me...checking in on me...

For some reason at that moment, I felt the urge to take a walk....it was 65 degrees out...sunny and warm...and I said to him, I think I'll just take a walk behind the house in the back 40 again.  I can use some fresh air....

Earlier I had Maggie sniff Charlies bed and said to her "We have to find Charlie"...
So I grabbed Maggie, gave her a good pep talk and said..."let's go for a walk mags - let's find charlie"...

She led me down a ravine behind the house......and she started digging in a hole.....I knew she had something...but I really thought she was chasing a squirrel.....

 (this is maggie when she found charlie)

 I could see her trying to get at it...and I just kept saying.  "find it ...find it maggie...find charlie"....and then.....
I heard a wimper........I thought it was Maggie wimpering at first....but when I got closer I saw a nose...
I saw Charlies Nose......and he was crying.....

My first thought was "OMG I MAGGIE FOUND HIM" I was so thrilled and so taken that I couldnt find the right buttons to push on my phone to call Dana....

Charlie had evidently followed a squirrel or chipmunk into a burrow and got stuck...really stuck...

I put my hands on him and said...it's alright "Baby Bear...Momma's here...I'm gonna get you out."
I dug and dug with my hands and a rock for over an hour....

I bruised my hands to pieces but I didnt feel a thing.....and finally...I got him out - with all the family there cheering that Charlie was now SAFE AND SOUND!

So there we are both caked in mud and dirt! I don't want to repeat that adventure ever again....
But I did journal it in my Soul Garden journal...

A sweet ending.....to a bitter start!  I'm done with weeds...hopefully next week I'll be blooming back to health again!!!

Thanks for letting me share this story with you! - 
I picked up this postcard from a flea market in Paris last year when I went there with Mariah.  
The postmark is 1904

I hope you enjoy using it in your artwork.
Click on the picture - then right click "save as" its in PNG format

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Soul Journal Week 2 - DREAMING IN FAR AWAY PLACES + Arts Journal Prompts

It's well into week 2 of my Soul Garden project and I'm digging deep! Churning up a little soil here in the studio.....
This was a canvas I did a year or so back.  Originally, I decoupaged colorful magazine pages to it to create the colored background.  Then, I spackled all over the top of it to give it texture.  I loved the colors and how they blended....but I really couldn't decide on the finished product...so there it sat for a loooonnnggg loooonng time.   Mostly because I didn't want to mess it up. 
I dreamed of seeing the world thru a butterfly's wings....just watching them, they flutter by without a care in the world and land on all sorts of beautiful things....
And then one day, when at our scrapbook retreat I decided to finish it....
Sometimes it's just fun to let your mind wander........and think what would life be like if?......
Think about your happy place.  Once you arrive there...what would you do?  What was the journey like to get there? What is your dream job? What is your dream life?
It's important to take time to dream and think about where you really want to go.  It's part of the goal setting process.  Some dreams obviously are just that...dreams...they'll never come true...they're fantasy...and that's okay too..
However, I do want my dreams and goals to come true so I'm writing a list...
What is my dream job?  (I kinda have it...but I want to take it to the next level and license my artwork.
What is standing in my way?  (honestly?  - fear..... - fear of the unknown...fear of rejection...fear...)...time...money....fear of self promotion....lots of silly little things....
I psych myself up so much on the what if's that could go wrong...but never do...
that I never take the giant leap and just go for it for fear of failure...
these are the things I'm writing down in my journal today....getting them down on paper and expressing them..... This is a very personal side of me that I'm sharing....
I am working towards  my  goals in a way I've not before.  I'm starting to become fearless...and who knows when but I can assure you, my dreams will take me to far away places....and I hope yours do too!
If you're hitting a creative block why not start with:
filling a page with your "dreamy" color - use markers, crayons or splashes of paint...or simply cut colors out of a magazine and paste them into your book.
Doodle something - for me dreamy things have lots of swirls, carefree...flowers....nothing fancy...
and write down your dreams using dreamy style letters.
(no one has to see it really....but put it down...visualize it...be silly...)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dreams into Plans + art journaling Prompts, Ideas and Give away!

We're all battling the flu here....ugh! Dana was sick with a 102 fever and today...well..it feels like the start of it for me....let's hope not....

Often times in my artwork I take bits and pieces from other artwork I've made and re-purpose it into a new composition. It's a quick way to create a new piece if you are short on time, it's also a great arts and crafts project for kids to create a great piece of artwork.

Another crafts idea is to take photos of your artwork in stages.  Use these stages as a starting point for new works of art when you are in a pinch for time - just print them out and begin layering on top of them.

I set a timer for 30 minutes and played around with paints, stencils and created the back ground.  The butterfly girl is from a recent painting that I copied and cut out.

The quote was inspired by Christy Tomlinson and one of her artworks.  I thought it was so fitting. Don't let your can'ts get you down...and put a plan into action.

Here's an excerpt from the book Journal Bliss by Violette - I find it easiest to begin with a quote about what I'm feeling at that moment and then use colors and doodles to bring it to life.

Here's a Freebie GIVEAWAY:  Subscribe {{upper right corner}} to this blog and receive the free Photoshop Chicken Wire Brush pattern that I used on this piece.  {be certain to verify your address following the emailed instructions}

If you're a loyal follower, please leave a comment below along with your email address 

Monday, January 7, 2013

The beauty of our Dreams - Soul Garden Week 2 + Free Printable quote

Soul Garden Week 2 - DREAM

I know DREAM is a common word that we all put in all of our art journal artwork.  Part of my soul search is making a list of my dreams and then analyzing them as to which are really truly possible....and which will remain a fantasy at least for now.

I'm into rich warm colors.  I like bright colors too and I really do *TRY* to use them in my work, but in the end I always dull them down.....

Above is my inspiration color palette for the week.  It hasn't changed much since last week, though I did add a little bit of bright purple into the artwork that I created inspired by this palette.

Since my arts journal is inspired by color, I'll also print out this palette and add it to one of the pages in my art journal diary.  

First you gotta dream......then you gotta write them down....then you have to believe!

This printable is suitable for framing -  As a free craft idea and tip, I like to keep small frames around to put motivational quotes in and keep them as constant reminders. - They are easy to change out whenever I see a new one I want to keep.

Feel free to download this free printable and use it as a springboard for your arts journal.  If you have any craft ideas you want to share - be sure to email me.  I'd love to see!
click on the photo - then right click "save as" 
use a photo editing program to resize to your frame.  



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