Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Workshops are on!

I'm excited to announce that I have scheduled most of my new workshops for the first few months of 2008!

As many of you may, or may not, know - my beloved Paper Post is closing it's doors. If you live anywhere within a 100 mile radius of this store - I highly suggest you make your tushy over there to do some shopping, since everything is at least 50% off! Well, I taught a lot of classes there over the last few years, and I'm very sorry to see this wonderful place close. The owners were such nice women. I wish them success in their future.

One of my wonderful students recommended that I check out a place called Viva Gallery in Sherman Oaks. They have a wonderful facility, with a great big room for classes on the second floor and a lovely gallery on the first floor. I am excited to have contracted with them to begin teaching there! Can I use the word wonderful one more time? Oh, I just did? Please check out my website (which is really wonderful) for the listing of my new classes and locations.

I will also be teaching at Creative Courage, in Woodland Hills. If you haven't checked out this cool art and gift shop - then you must asap. She sells wonderful art, funky cool gift items, and has a great space in the back for workshops and just doin' art. Lupe, the owner, is so vivacious and friendly - you just wanna hug her.

Have a wonderful and safe New Years Eve! While we were invited to a totally cool party, alas, we have no babysitter. Yah, it's a tough night. But, I guess I can drink as much as I want!

Friday, December 28, 2007

More ATCs

Here are some more ATCs I've been working on. I'm planning on trading these at Art and Soul - where, apparently, I'll be making lots of new friends since NO ONE I know is going. I do plan on having fun - and maybe even sleeping in past 7am. Wow. That would be NICE! This first one is my favorite:

I definetely feel a tree thing coming on. I just actually love this tree branch I drew with a sharpie. So, I started drawing lots of tree branches and, well, I like trees, ok? They are a very positive image - life, growth, strength, arms reaching out. I like those kind of thoughts.

Sorry everything is crooked, but I'm lazy! Then, I am also somehow loving the juxtaposition of the butterflies on the black netting. Am I trying to capture something beautiful and delicate? You bet.

So, is anyone out there in bloggyland going to Art and Soul? Is anyone out there in bloggyland actually reading this blog? Ok, I know there are a few of you to whom I am eternally grateful!

Ok - twist my arm - I do have ONE New Year's resolution - I want to get some how-to videos on this blog. The first will be some simple image transfers. My most popular class by far - I've taught it over 10 times in the last two years to full classes almost every time. So, stay tuned - you'll get to watch the video for free!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Struggle Makes Us Strong! (Grrrrrrrrr)

Oh, I am struggling!

I am struggling with Adobe Photoshop, trying to make some new designs for next year. I am struggling with being a very small company, with big ideas and marketing to big clients. I am struggling with all the responsibilities that come with being a mother of three, but also wanting more time for my self and being tired of always coming last.

What are you struggling with?

All of these issues are so big, and they are completely intertwined with each other. And so, I must remind myself, that it’s good to struggle. I will be a better person for it in the end, right? RIGHT?

I need to make more new designs, but what I really want to do needs to be done with Photoshop. The problem is, I know next to nothing about Photoshop. I bought a book on Photoshop, which so far has been fantastic. But, it’s 2 ½ inches thick! (I just measured it) Therefore, I need TIME to learn, but where does that time come from when my baby only sleeps about 2 hours a day, some of which I’m running around taking care of everyone else but me. Hubby is home from work, so I spent many hours yesterday struggling with the behemoth that is Photoshop, ending the day very frustrated.

So, here’s what I did come up with. It’s ridiculous that it took me most of a day to come up with two designs, but, at least I now know how to make my own brushes (thanks to a great link that you can see here, which was first posted on my good friend Julie’s blog, which you can read here. It’s worth the click!

Living our best everyday doesn’t mean we don’t struggle, it doesn’t mean we don’t feel like kicking the computer ‘cuz it’s just not doing exactly what we want it to do. In order to live our best, we must recognize that struggle, not kick the computer, even if we really, REALLY want to (they’re kinda expensive…) and find the way to overcome. I am slowly making my way through the Photoshop book. I am slowly breaking down doors at the “big guys”, and I am slowly finding ways to make time for myself and think about putting myself first – at least some of the time.

What are you going to do THIS WEEK to overcome some struggle in your life?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Love Puddles!

How could an afternoon of opening a new business bank account be complete without a little splashing in the puddles? My daughter's favorite shoes are her rain boots, and when you see the lizards, catepillars and crickets on them, you'd know why. They are super cool.

How lucky, that right outside the bank's front door, was a great big puddle of water that was begging to be cavorted in.

It only took her a few minutes to really start movin' that water around. And don't you just love her outfit? Well, today, of all days, was pajama day. Yes, those are her real pajamas.

Now don't go thinkin' that this kinda look isn't typical, because it is. Wild pony tail, somewhat held in place by "diamond" barrettes, elegant (and filthy from climbing trees) fur lined jacket, mismatched outfit, and shoes that don't match anything else - usually including some kind of sparkle. Yah, this is a girl who dresses herself in the morning. Don't think I don't love every minute of it. The only thing lacking in today's outfit was tights. Oh yes. This girl ONLY wears skirts - every day (well, except pajama day, apparently).

Of course, who buys her all those sparkle shoes, diamond barrettes and crazy tights? Yah, I love it! That's living each day!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I sat at my art table this evening, pulling myself this way and that. Wanting to break out so many ideas, yet, I have no motivation to actually bring them to life. So, I decided to go old school and make some ATCs. I actually worked on the background of these a while ago, and just really added the Geisha - I have lots left over from my image transfer classes.

Yah, it's kinda boring, but I needed to get something on paper. I don't believe in being completely imaginative and rockin' the art world most of the time.

I spent much creative energy this weekend on a layout for my brother's new apartment. He owns an entire floor of a building somewhere in Manhattan that he is finally ready to convert into his home. It was actually really exciting and fun, and I just hated what the architect had done for him. It was boring, had no storage, and didn't even have a walk-in wine cellar or even ONE secret door or room. What fun is THAT? Let's just say, my brother is doing well, doesn't have a wife or kids to suck away his money, so I think he needs a walk-in wine cellar and a secret room that is only accessible from a moveable bookcase.

I see you nodding your head.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Smile White and Wide

So, what does "Live Each Day" really mean? It means a lot of things to a lot of people. What I'm interested in, is what it means to you and me.

I am trying to Live Each Day to the fullest. That means making each day count, doing positive things every day. Yesterday I had a high and low of this attempt. The high was the success of a business deal for my gift card holders that I've been working on for two months now. That was the morning. The low was at about 7:30pm, when I had three kookoo kids who were still not in bed, the house a mess, no underwear in my son's drawer, no long sleeve shirts in my older daughter's drawer, and no husband at home to help (he was out working his butt off).

With that moment behind me, and with another harried day, I sit here in the endorphin-laden feelings of restfullness (post nursing my baby) to write about how lucky we really are. How lucky I really am. I am healthy, with a nice home, beautiful, healthy children, a loving and responsible husband, a wonderful family, for whom my main wish is to only see more often.

What are the blessings in your life? Think hard. I bet there's lots.

I saw a homeless man recently, whose presence brought me to write the poem to follow. He was wretched and dirty; he had obvious physical ailments; yet, he had a smile that was real. A smile, not only of content, but of true joy. ok, maybe he was on drugs - but perhaps he was just living that day. Maybe he was realizing that he had the glory of experiencing The Earth, spinning madly through our ever expanding universe - that he is a sub-microscopic speck of beauty in a universe we know so little about.

Homeless Man
by Tally Oliveau

I see your white smile
and twisted knee
brown cap tipped
God blessin' me.
You appear grotesque
standing in the rain,
You appear to have nothing,
just memories and pain.
So why do you smile
so white and wide?
Have you found happiness
deep down inside?

Part of living each day, for me, is an appreciation of the downright unbelievable luck that I have to be living on this little spinning rock we call Earth. There is no possible way that I can ever feel how small I truly am, amid all the other solar systems, galaxies, and the dark spaces in between. So, if this poor man on the corner can smile, well, I can too.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Shameless Plug

Here it is.
The shameless plug.
Just an FYI - I have converted my website so that I can sell cards to the public at large, in addition to wholesale. So, if you've been dreaming about greeting cards with gift card holders, your dreams have come true. I'm already sold out of GCH03, 03A, 07 and 013. (I know, bashing dreams already...)

I've got plenty of this:

and this:

What's that white thing in the middle? That's the die cut window that shows off the cool gift card you just spent booko (sp?) bucks on. It looks really cool once you put the gift card inside. Confused? Go to my website now and unconfuse yourself. It's ok, I'll wait.

If you're so organized as to be done with holiday stuff, well I've got lots of other great cards. My new designs aren't available yet. Which are those? Gosh, I'm just too lazy to go look. It's almost 1am ok? Basically, don't order anything with a number bigger than 28 or so. Or anything that looks like this:

Or, anything that looks like this:

I know, the new stuff is cool, but it's not printed yet. I'll do another shamelss plug early next year to let you all know when that stuff is ready.

In the meantime, have a great weekend!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Hot Punch!

Mmmmmm. It all starts on Thanksgiving, and doesn't end 'til after New Years - the demand in the household for hot punch. Now, don't go thinking that we have this everyday, 'cuz that would be way to fattening! But this non-alcoholic punch (ok, that's easy to fix too - just add rum) is so perfect for parties and family get togethers.

Hey - not everything in this blog has to be all esoteric yah know...

This hot punch recipe is also special to me because every time I make it, it reminds me of my late mother-in-law. I keep her handwritten recipe in my book, and as I make it, I think about how proud she would be that everyone looks forward to it on Thanksgiving (more punch is consumed than wine, yah, it's that good). I sort of think of her spirit being with us through the punch. Wow, that sounds really weird. But, I'm going with it.

So here it is. You get her handwritten version too.

Just in case you can't read it:

Fran's Hot Punch (Makes 25 1/2 cup servings)

1 1/2 Quarts Cranberry Juice (48oz jug)

2 Quarts Apple Cider or Juice (64oz jug)

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 3inch cinnamon sticks

1 1/2 tsp whole cloves

Bring mixture to boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. I like to serve it in my crockpot, which keeps it hot for the whole party.

I like to make it a day ahead, and it's even better. For Thanksgiving I made at least three times this recipe and it's all gone at the end of the night! What's really cool about this recipe, is that the juices are sold in those quantities, so no annoying left overs.

I hope you'll try it, and that you will make it a part of your holiday traditions too.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

If It Ain't Fried, It Aint Food

Last night was the first night of Hanukkah. Yup, that's the official spelling these days. Hanukkah. I have no problem with the other spelling: Chanukah. Yah. That one's good too.

Adam Sandler has a now famous Hanukkah song: Eight Crazy Nights, which is pretty darn funny, and you can watch the original version from Saturday Night Live just above by clicking the play button.

But, what the heck IS Hanukkah? It's actually quite a minor holiday in Judaism, where you don't even get a day off work. Of course, there's lots of food involved. The main way to remember what are traditional Hanukkah foods is a Southern mantra my friend Lisa says the best (in a very Southern, hick accent) "If It Ain't Fried, It Ain't Food." That's right; foods fried in oil are traditional for this holiday, mainly potato pancakes (also called latkes) and jelly doughnuts. Just about every year I get a Winchell's guy telling me, as I order a dozen jelly doughnuts: "I don't know what happened tonight, but everyone's going for the jelly doughnuts!". Yah, well, get a clue and get some marketing on.

There's the story about the Macabees, who were an underground rebel movement in Israel about 2200 years ago, or 200 BC, when the Greeks occupied that area. The Greeks destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, and did not allow religious freedom. King Antiochus is said to have replaced The Holy Arc with a statue of Zeuss. This totally pissed off the Jews, because we only believe in one God and do not worship idols or any human image of any kind. So, being the tough brood that we are, we kicked them to the curb and restored Jerusalem and the temple. That's when the "miracle" happened. There was only enough oil for the eternal light (which represents the eternal light of God and is always above The Arc in any temple you visit) for one day, but it lasted for eight days - and thus, we have eight days of Hanukkah.

Well, the story of the Macabees is true. But I'm not so sure about the oil miracle. I think it was definitely a miracle that a small resistance group beat out the Greeks, who pretty much owned everything back then. It took them about three years to do it, but it's still a miracle. But, looking at the holiday through more adult eyes, I have a theory. Sukkot is the last holiday we had back in October, and Sukkot is also eight days. Hmmm. My theory is that once the Jews rebuilt the temple, they celebrated the most recent holiday that had past - and that was Sukkot, and it lasted for eight days. I think that's pretty cool.

So, you might think about the oil/miracle story as sort of like a Santa story for the kids. Both versions are good. Now, I have to go now and figure out the Weight Watchers points for latkes with piles of sour cream and apple sauce on top...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I Want to be A Butterfly

One day, while a man was working in his garden, he saw a beautiful, fat caterpillar crawling along a vine. It was moving very slowly and he decided to stop what he was doing to observe the little creature. To his amazement, the caterpillar began building his cocoon! Slowly, slowly, the caterpillar constructed a dark shell around his body, which eventually scrunched up into the tiny capsule.

The man checked the cocoon several times a day for the next few days. Finally, one of those days, he saw the cocoon twitching and realized the butterfly was about to come out. First, the top of the cocoon slowly cracked opened. Then a small antenna emerged. The butterfly was moving very slowly, and the man watched as the butterfly struggled immensely to push its large body, then the top of its wings out of the small opening in the cocoon. An hour went by as he watched the struggle.

It pained the man so much to watch this long struggle, so he decided he would help the butterfly. With a swift flick of his finger, he opened the rest of the cocoon, allowing the butterfly to easily slip out. Once out, the butterfly’s wet wings slumped over itself. It just sat there, not moving, still struggling to walk. During the next hour, the man could only watch as the butterfly died.

What the man didn’t realize was that the butterfly needed to go through that small hole in the cocoon, which effectively removes the fluid off the wings so that the butterfly can then open them and fly away to begin its life. The struggle was the most important part of becoming a butterfly.

I am in the midst of my own struggle – a struggle that I know I am definitely not alone. There is a multi-billion dollar industry surrounded around this struggle – my weight. Ok, I know, I just had a baby, but how long can I really use that as an excuse? I’ll go into more detail on another post, but I wanted to share my art journal entry about this issue – I am making many entries about this issue, and, at a minimum, I’m not eating while I’m arting.

I am struggling, but I realize that the struggle is a very important (maybe the most important) part of becoming a person who eats smaller portions, doesn't need dessert after every meal, and makes fruit and vegetables a larger portion of the foods I eat every day. Maybe your struggle isn't with weight, it's with figuring out what you want to do next in your life - careers, children or even combining the two. What are you struggling with that you just can't seem to acheive?

If I don't struggle, I will not learn. If I don't learn, I will make the same mistakes over again, and I will never fly.

So, as the journal layout says, I am still in my cocoon. I'm figuring it all out.