Monday, March 31, 2008

Shake, Shake, Shake!

Patti V! You are our winner for March! Yay! You get the fabulous pair of handmade earring posted at the beginning of this month! Please email me privately with your snail mail addy so I can send these along!

Now, for about a necklace? I have a few microscope slide necklaces left over from way back when I used to make these for stores. These used to sell for about $23-$28 in boutiques here in CA and AZ. I think I'll have a fire sale of the leftovers at Art and Soul in two weeks. Or, you can just win one here for FREE - shipping included! - just by leaving your comments throughout the month. So here's what you could win for April:
If you're interested in actually purchasing one of these, email me directly there's lots of designs to choose from- fire sale price is $6!! Whoa, I must be nuts - or in need of space in my closet...

I actually did some art this weekend that wasn't card designing - let's hear another "Whoa!" I took a class with the wonderful Juliana Coles at this wonderful studio in NoHo. I could only be there one day, 'cuz there's just no way I can justify being away from kids and husband for more than that. Well, ok, there probably is, but I'd be guilt ridden for months.

Here's some little snippets from my journal:

Oh yes, the fires within. I actually have a strange fire/water thing going on in much of my art. The background is an image torn from a magazine of coy fish swimming in water. Then I added the silhouette of a woman (supposed to be me), and fire on top of that with acrylic paints, then outlined with black sharpie. Fun.

This is a small portion of a layout where I did journaling on my book page (I'm using an old encyclopedia for this journal) with sharpie, painted over with oranges and yellows. Then using a stencil found at a scrapbooking store, did swirlies with red/orange acrylics, outlines with black sharpie and white gel pen, added ephemera of butterflies, circle nailhead and masking tape.

This is the left side of a two page spread. This is my favorite of the pages I did, and it's so simple. Turquoise acyrlic on encyclopedia page, with Asian paper and film image glued over that. I cut out this image of a woman jumping from some ad in a magazine that I wanted to add to this layout. When I turned the image over to put the glue on, I acutally decided that I liked the reverse silouette type image more than the photo image I had actually intended to use. Hmmmm....another silouette - what could that mean?

Here's a portion of the right side of this same layout. My handwritten text says "The power is in your hands". It really is - yah, I'm talkin' to you.

Don't you just love my big lotus on the left? I do! I painted yellow acrylic over the text on the page, then added large, red circles with more acrylics. I drew the lotus and colored it in using oil pastel crayons, blending with my finger. On the right, I used white paint over a circle stencil then glued on that vintage Asian paper doll I've been "saving for something special" for over four years. I'm using the good stuff! It's just no good when it's in my drawer. It looks real good in my book where I can see it more often. The text under the lotus reads "Follow your Instincts".

Can you believe all that was done after lunch?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

$110 per day

The kidlets are on spring break this week, and I just couldn't bring myself to spend $110 PER DAY (that's for two kids) on "sports camp", and so here we are.

Getting nothing accomplished.

Getting frustrated some more with Photoshop.

I keep learning more, and realizing how very little I really know. I have that drop shadow thing down now, but if anyone knows how to do that sun rays thingy - not the glowing thingy - but where there are light and dark lines radiating out from a center object, and you can link me or give me a hand-holding tutorial, I will be your best friend for life.

I wish I could show you what I'm working on, but when I showed my new designs to my mom tonight, she was pretty quiet....hmmmm....yah, we know what that means. She's usually not that nice either.

So, to get out my frustrations, I am thankful that I will be going to the gym tomorrow for another fun morning of torture - oh, I mean health building exercise. Can you believe that my weight training teacher is also an artist? She's pretty good too. Her name is Pam, and you can check out pics of her art here. She constantly makes corny and witty jokes during class which actually do help forget that you are in the middle of doing 200 pilates sit up thingies.

And if I use the word thingy in the singular or plural form one more time this month, feel free to yell at your monitor at what a bad writer I am. Go ahead , let loose. Thank goodness there's only a few more days...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Saints and Sinners

It's been too long, and I have so much to blog about, I will have to divide it into more than one post. I will begin with the fun I had last night at the Los Angeles Craft Mafia's little get together at the Saints and Sinners Lounge in L.A. I actually looked at the website beforehand, and while my immediate thought was "Is a mommy from the Valley cool enough to go to this place?" I wasn't going to miss it.
Well, it was so fun! This group meets once a month to socialize AND do a craft at the same time. Mark Montano is a member, and just came out with his FIFTH book "The Big-Ass Book of Crafts" which you can buy here on Amazon. This link will also show you his other books for sale. Mark was there, directing the group on an awesome craft.

Well, you just won't believe the craft he had organized for the group - making your own rubber stamp! Yay! So, now I was able to complete Michelle Ward's challenge for this month! Well, it's cheating a little, 'cuz it's not "carved" but it is totally handmade/hand cut, so I think it counts (It does say "Cut It Out").
Here's what I made!
It was unbelievably fast and EASY!! All the instructions are in Mark's book, but, basically, you take a wood block, attach a flat layer of a foam sticker sheet, then, using the same foam sticker sheets, you cut with plain ol' scissors your design and stick it on! What could be easier or cheaper! This idea is so simple and brilliant. I flipped through the book, and it has TONS of easy crafts just like this one.
Moving onward - I know I promised to post my visual journal entries from Vegas - so here they are for your viewing pleasure!
Remember how I said I got the journal at a craft fair in Tel-Aviv? Here's the cover:
The Hebrew at the bottom actually says "travel journal". The Hebrew at the top can be loosely translated to Wonderland. The entire book is handmade.
The paper is from a vintage map, and I have circled Thessalonica (today known as Salonica, Greece) and Sofia (in Bulgaria) because those are the two cities where my paternal grandparents were from before they moved to Israel.
How do I love this layout? Let me count the ways...This is SOOOO me. The Asian paper is ripped from a newspaper. I hand drew the tree branch on tracing paper, tore the right edge and inked with red ink. It's glued over paper that is actually the inside of a security envelope. Oh yah - gotta check out the cool designs inside those security envelopes, folks! To the far left are staples from the next page, which I didn't originally realize would be there, but I love how they look.
The background papers for this were glued on ahead of time (i.e. before I left for Vegas). I added the "Vegas" arrows from some advertising brochure I got in the taxi, then did my journaling on the green mulberry paper.
This is the last entry from the trip. The background was also pre-glued, and I just added the journaling.
Ok - that's WAY enough for one morning!

Friday, March 14, 2008

She's an Artistic Genius!

Well, if I don't have time to do much of my own art, I can certainly post my older daughter's art, right? Well, she's five, and she is an artist. She will tell you this herself. Isn't this piece a stroke of genius!?! Her lovely little hand as an octopus. My favorite part is the bubbles. And the seaweed. And the octopus's suckers. Oh yes, she's a genius.
So, of course, I am now contemplating utilizing the potential slave labor I have at hand (i.e. two small children of crayon yielding age) to begin creating artwork for some new cards. In addition to many other things, I have a demand for children's cards. And I think my little creative geniuses are just the ticket to bon bon-dom. Well, not really, but it'll keep them outta my hair for at least an hour.
And just an FYI, it's Christmas time around here. I know, we don't even celebrate Christmas, and it's even earlier than "Christmas in July", but I gotta get some new holiday designs done by May 1. Something tells me it's gonna be a busy year.
I've also given up trying to figure out why my paragraphs look normal when I write the draft, and then have no spaces in between when I publish. Anyone have info on this? Bueller?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

What Happened in Vegas Better Not Stay in Vegas!

So what happened in Vegas? Lots! But right now, there's mostly talk. The next few months will reveal what's really going to happen with my product. But, hey, at least I'm getting it out there. I will say that out of the many, many prepaid and gift card products on display at the show, NOTHING was like mine. Not even really that close. Here are some pics of the booth that I shared with a company that I partnered with for the show, MT&L. They are a plastics manufacturer, packager, and also do fullfillment. If that doesn't mean much to you, it's ok. Just go out and buy gift cards!

Here is the left side of the booth, with some fairly pooped salesmen. On the left is Stan from Texas and on the right is Michael from Tennessee. You can see my cards to the far left on a spinning display with the gift cards and also on a clip strip, hanging just to Stan's left.The photo above shows the right side of the booth. There are two hanging panels with my cards hanging from hooks. On the table is another panel with more card samples, my give-away samples, and catalogues.

Here's a close-up of the spinning display. Why they chose orange for the background, I'll never know. Doesn't go with anything!

I will say that my cards brought some serious attention to this booth. First of all, they were really different, somewhat artistic, and colorful. Remember, the gift card holders are not meant to be truly artistic, they are meant to appeal to a mass audience. My product is also a perfect add on to gift card sales.

I will also say that MT&L brought some serious attention to my cards. They have a lot of good relationships with others in this industry, and have been doing business in the plastic cards biz for several decades. I was impressed with their salespeople's professionalism and their connections and/or potential connections.

I will say that there was hardly a moment during the time that the exhibits were open that we weren't all quite busy. There was a total of six sales people from MT&L, plus me. We were all busy. Tuesday night I was actually hoping to go out dancing later in the evening. After the "gala industry dinner", where companies basically pay an exhorbitant amount of money to buy honors (i.e. 2 minutes of advertising in front of the whole crowd, I mean, who do they think they're fooling anyway?). I went back up to my room to rest. Famous last words! I sat on the bed, fully clothed, contact lenses still in, to rest my eyes for an hour (it was only 9pm). I woke up at 2:30am, realized I missed the party, trudged over to the bathroom to remove my contacts, put on my pjs, and dove directly back into bed.

Yes, I did bring a travel journal with me, yes, I used my new travel packs I prepared from the street team challenge, and yes I did journal everyday. I will share those goodies in the next post. This one is already way too long! And I just lost an hour!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

My good friend Julie - both online and off - tagged me! I've never been tagged or anything before, so it was exciting! Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Now, I'm kinda thinkin' that most of the people she tagged are people I would tag, so I might not tag 7 people. But here are my 7 facts:
  1. I often play with my hair, and I can even tie my hair in several knots that easily come out. I am twirling my hair right now, as I take breaks to contemplate this list. I cannot, for the life of me, get rid of this habit. My dad takes full credit for this habit – when I was little (about 3)I sucked my thumb. My dad suggested that instead of sucking my thumb, I should play with my hair. I immediately commenced playing with my hair AND sucking my thumb. I did get rid of the thumb sucking part.
  2. I love to write poetry, and have a collection of all the poems I have written since I was about nine years old in several journals – all original. The poems that I write usually come to my mind complete – I am usually merely the carrier from the abyss of my brain who writes them down.
  3. I am far too impatient to ever spend more than about thirty seconds contemplating Soduku or a cross word puzzle.
  4. I am extremely picky about my sleeping pillow and not picky enough about what foods I eat.
  5. I only watch about one to two hours of TV a week.
  6. My two favorite foods on Earth are pomegranate and good crusty bread with salted butter.
  7. As kids, my brother and I used to sneak homemade milk shakes upstairs to the TV room (where we weren’t allowed to eat) and watch Love Boat and Fantasy Island (which we weren’t allowed to watch). My favorite milk shake to make was with coffee ice cream and raisins. I can still remember some nightmares from watching Fantasy Island.

who am I tagging? Oy. I just checked about 5 blogs - and they've all already been tagged. Just go look at the right hand side for some fun places to visit!

Yes, I'm back from Vegas. Yes, I had an amazing experience. I will post about it in another day or so, with pics of my booth and everything...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

We have a winner for February!

And the collage goes to: octavine! To tell you all the truth - I'm not even sure she knew she was playing! Octavine is a member of a women's artistic entrepreneur's group in Portland, which is where she found out about me and cordially left a comment! Well, that comment just got you a collage, girl!

I just love giving away things, and I think that March will be another pair of earrings. And here they are:

I have no idea what the big, beautiful, greenish-blue stone is. Those are real fresh water pearls and everything else is sterling silver, including the handmade ear wire. Oh yah - handmade by ME! The total length hanging from your ear would be 2 1/2 inches. Nice and dangly!

So, again, the rules are: every time you leave a comment during this month of March, you get your name in the pot for a chance to win these! If your comment leaves me no way of reaching you, please check back (at least by the end of the month, or hopefully more often!) to see if you won! You will have to give me your snail mail so I can mail them to you if you win!

And now, I must go figure out how one girl, with only two arms, will be shlepping three large suitcases full of crap - oh, I mean, cards and clothes - to Las Vegas. Bye!