Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 31 - When The World Is Running Down

You make the best of what's still around.

Yesterday I was happily crafting away on the Dabbled Anti-Valentine's contest when my house literally started running down around me. We had issues with both (yes both) toilets. Neither were flushing well so we called the plumber.

I hate calling people for help. It costs a lot of money and you usually find out that you could have fixed it yourself for half the cost. But toilets are a necessity so I called, only to find out that there was nothing wrong with the toilets or the pipes.

We got a vauge diagnosis that it was a "problem" with the air vent. The guy thought it might be frozen or clogged so we need to find someone to climb on to our roof to find out. Well all righty then.

So now we are living in a broke down house with buckets instead of flushing and I spent the rest of the afternoon drawing cartoon hearts with glitter glue. It kept me from crying, which I guess is all you can ask for in this circumstance.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 30 - Casting a Web

Now that I've started this blog, I've been looking for other crafty blogs. I've found a bunch through blog swaps on Etsy. I've also been following links to see where it takes me.

I've found that there are a lot of sites, like Inspire Me Thursday where people all post on a common theme. This week's theme is soup. Last week it was peeling paint.

I like the idea of these types of challenges because they can give you that little spark of inspiration. Some days I don't really know what to do. I stare at the paper and it stares back at me. Blank, white paper can be awfully intimidating especially when you don't have the greatest confidence in what you are doing to begin with.

One of the challenges or contests I immediately was drawn to was the Black Hearts Anti-Valentine Challenge over at Dabbled. I was immediately inspired, drawing all sorts of things from broken hearts to black hearts. Envisioning cards and jewelry all with that theme. I loved it.

Even though I am married and have a built in Valentine, I can remember many years where I didn't. I hated Valentine's Day because it was a reminder that you were alone. So channeling those memories will make the contest more fun.

If this goes well or if I just have a ton of fun, I think I'll be doing more of this in the future.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 29 - Why Juniper and Coffee?

The simple answer is I have no idea. I was trying to come up with a blog name and was running through a bunch in my head. I wanted it to be something that could mean different things to different people but wouldn't be so easily identifiable as a "design blog".

When I first started blogging way back in 2006, I named my blog ReneeDesigns. It was a no brainer. That was the name of my business. But I never really got into a groove blogging over there. It felt like all I could do was talk about my business. So I did't really blog very much.

Then I started my family blog But Why Mommy. It was also a no brainer. I was the mother of a toddler, she asked why all the time. Even though the title pigenholes me as a "mommy blogger", I didn't mind. I have so much material from my life with my family that I keep blogging for a long time.

But this blog was different. I was going to be blogging about my crafting experiement but I wasn't exactly sure where it was going to take me. I have some ideas percolating in my head about where I would like it to go. And those ideas are not just about me and what I do. So I wracked my brain for that perfect title and I couldn't come up with one.

Juniper had been in my mind for a while. There was a restaraunt in my neighborhood called Juniper61. I drove past the sign all the time so the name just stuck with me. But it lacked something. And then it hit me - coffee. I love coffee. Everyone loves coffee. It also seemed to go well with Juniper so the name stuck.

The picture above is another ATC with my interpretation of a juinper leaf.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 28 - Blossoming

When I first started selling my jewlery I made a lot of interesting pieces using twisted wire. I called them blossoms because they looked like abstract flowers. I loved making these pieces, every time I started one it turned out completely different than what I had in my head but still beautiful.

One of these pieces got me a mention in Women's Wear Daily (in a piece about Milwaukee boutiques). To date this is one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me. It made me feel like a real designer. Some day I hope to reach those heights again.

I decided to use that blossom design as my logo for my business. I didn't possess the skills to do that myself, so I turned to a talented graphic artist on Etsy, Krystan to make some business cards for me. She came up with a really cool design using my blossom pieces as inspiration.

I've been thinking a lot about those necklaces and the design that Krystan came up with for me lately. I was wondering if it would still work. I don't really do those pieces any more. I have one in the shop, but I haven't been making them.

So I decided to play with the logo I already had. Could I make it work for me now? Today's piece is an ATC using the logo as inspiration. Its pretty close to the original but now I'm thinking of ways to expand and change it up for who I am now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 27 - Balance

Lately I've been a little off kilter. I've been trying to find time in the day for all the things I need to do and all the things I want to do. Of course it doesn't help that I am not sleeping well and am exhausted. I would much rather sit on the couch and vege than actually do anything, which of course is the problem.

As I am wont to do in these types of situations, I make detailed plans in my head of how to get organized. I then don't follow the plans and wallow around in misery for a while. Eventually I get my act together and get stuff done. Until the next time I hit one of these patches.

But I'm thinking that maybe I do need a plan. I've got a lot of ideas on where I want this project to take me. I've been thinking about this for a while and am excited at the prospect. I just need to take the action to reach that next step. Maybe its just a list of goals, maybe its a mini-business plan but I need to get organized if I want to get where I think I can go.

If I can put this all into perspective, I think the energy I generate will help me get out of my funk. It will help me get my life back into balance which is exactly what I need.

The piece above is another of the Chinese inspired pieces. The pendant is a vintage crystal with a dragon etching and a lovely AB (aurora borieallis) finish which makes it change colors a bit in the light. I hope to finish it soon.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 26 - Xin Nian Kuai Le

Over the weekend we went to a Chinese New Year party put on by Bunny's Chinese school. After stuffing myself with (about 6 too many) dumplings and watching the dragon dance, I found myself in a bit of a nostalgic mood.

While we were waiting for Bunny's referral from China, I started making all sorts of Chinese themed jewelry. I collected old (and new) coins, character pendants and anything with a dragon. I incorporated a lot of these items into my work.

The trip to China only strengthened that creative bent. One of our stops was the Pearl Market in Guangzhou. The Pearl Market is the size of a large shopping center and each store is a gem merchant. You can buy pearls, jade and any semi-precious stone you can imagine. Needless to say I was in heaven.

Part of the profits from any item I made and sold from the stones I bought in China or from the Chinese themed pieced I had collected earlier went to the Half the Sky Foundation which works to better the conditions for children living in Chinese orphanages.

But as these things go, once I became a mom, life got in the way and I stopped making jewelry for a while. Everything went into storage and rarely saw the light of day. But this weekend's events got me thinking about making this type of jewelry again. So I rooted around in my stash, found some pretties and got to work.

The coin is a replica of an old Chinese coin and the red disc is porcelain (from China). I hope to have this piece listed in the shop tomorrow with 50% of the proceeds going to Half the Sky.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 25 - Sometimes Its Best to Lend a Hand.

My creative endeavors on Saturday were not typical. I was not the creative chef, rather I was the creative sous chef.

The creative efforts on this day were all of a three year old nature. I helped peel the backing off of glitter stickers as Bunny made a sticker picture for her cousin's birthday party. Our efforts were rewarded as the picture now hangs front and center on their refrigerator (it had to be removed from the birthday girl's grip as her mother feared she would try and eat the stickers. But its okay she's only 1).

I also was able to wield a mean glitter glue pen as our family created a New Year's card at Bunny's Chinese class New Year party. This is a special honor bestowed on me by my daughter who loves all things glittery and gluey.

As she directed my efforts through out the day, I felt as fulfilled as I would have had I created a masterpiece.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 24 - Its a Habit

There is a theory out there that it takes 21 days to form a habit. If you do anything for 21 days straight, it will become a habit.

Well here I am on day 24 and I can say that making or creating has indeed become a habit for me again. So has blogging about it. While they are not always the most interesting of posts, I have blogged for 24 strait days. Even clocking in at 11 pm when I should be in bed, I force myself to get up and get on the computer because its a habit now, one that I don't intend on breaking.

Today's picture is a piece of jewelry I made yesterday. I love it in person but again it does not transfer in the photograph, sigh.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 23 - A Little Bit of Everything

I'm trying to find a rhythm when it comes to crafting everyday. The easiest thing is to do it after Bunny has gone down for the night. I can pick something up and work while I'm watching TV.

But somedays that just doesn't work. Then I try to do something during a spare minute or while she's occupied doing something else. I'll pick up the sweater, thinking maybe today I can make some headway on it. I'll doodle a little in my sketch book using whatever is at hand (even crayons). I just try to make an effort to do something, no matter how small.

Yesterday was one of those days. My husband was out of town for a few days. I wasn't sleeping well. Bunny wasn't sleeping well. We were both coming down with colds. It would just be so easy not to do anything. But that's the thing with this challenge, I have to move beyond what is easy and just make something. So I dabbled with a little bit of everything - crochet, drawing, jewelry and even baking (homemade cupcakes are an easy way to entertain your child for an hour).

In the end I don't feel like I accomplished anything of substance but I tried and that is the most important thing.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 22 - Out of Focus

There are so many more things I would like to add to my shop but I have a focus issue. Every time I try and take pictures of my jewelry, they always end up blurry, and blurry doesn't sell.

I spent about three hours yesterday taking pictures of jewelry. I tried different aprroaches, close up, far away, trying to get the focus right. But it didn't quite work out.

The pictures would all look fine on my camera. I would zoom in and out on the photo to make sure it looked fine and it did. But when I got it downloaded on the computer and into my editing software, the edges were blurry. You couldn't tell if there were any special details to the piece, it just looked fuzzy.

I know that the majority of this is due to my camera. I have a point and shoot that serves me well in most instances but not when it comes to photographing my jewelry. I want a new camera. And if I'm serious about making a go of this, I need a new camera.

But part of me can't bring myself to get one. And its not just due to price. You see I am emotionally attached to my camera. There is a story behind how I got the camera, a story that is so tied to who I am. My husband and I were in China to adopt our daughter and the day before we were supposed to see her for the first time, our camera broke. What could have been a complete distaster was saved by our guide who helped us buy our camera just a few hours before we met Bunny.

How can I move on? This camera was there for the most important day of my life. Its a part of me. But it is also holding me back. I make beautiful jewelry that I would love to show the world, but my camera won't let me.

So here I sit with a pile of jewelry that just doesn't photograph well. I keep on trying, thinking maybe if I try this or that it will work. But it doesn't. I know that I need to bite the bullet and get a new camera. Someday . . .

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 21 - New Jewelry Up

I've been making jewelry for the past few days and thought it was time to finally add a few to my shop.

The first are a pair of earrings I made on Monday. I've made these before and have always loved the way they look. The flower stone is a ruby jade and the leaves are vintage glass.

Second I added some earrings I made yesterday. They are labordorite drops with small loops made of labordorite. I love how the twisted wire effect that makes the loops look like small leaves or petals.

I hope to be adding some more pieces to the shop in the coming days.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 20 - Possible Listing?

After I made those earrings over the weekend, I got back into the groove. Making jewlery just seemed right again. I made a few more earrings yesterday. I also made a necklace.

I'm not going to put any pictures up today because I think I'm going to list them in my shop tomorrow. So stay tuned.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 19 - Back to Basics

Sometimes life gets a little crazy. You would rather spend your free time napping or zoning out in front of the TV than doing anything of substance.

I could have done this or I could have done that but I just couldn't bring myself to make the effort. I wanted ease and simplicity yesterday. Something that I could do without thinking but something that would yeild a beautiful result.

Yesterday I walked into my craft room and looked at everything I had there. The unused sewing machine, the paints, the canvas, the yarn none of it was appealing to me. I opened a box of beads and just knew what to do. So I decided to go back to basics, back to jewelry.

The easiest piece of jewlery for me to make is earrings. I can make a pair in 10 minutes. I can't tell you the number of times I've been getting ready to go out and thought I need some new earrings to go with this outfit. So I pull out my supplies and make a pair as easy as that.

I found some pretty beads, grabbed some wire and my tools and went to town. I first hung both beads from the same earwire. The effect was pretty but it was heavier than I was looking for so I separated them. Instead I got two pairs that I can wear anytime and I like that.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 18 - Fun with Felting

Have you ever accidentally washed a sweater only to have it come out of the dryer shrunken and unrecognizable? That is felting in a nutshell.

I've seen a few projects using felted wool and thought it would be fun to try them. Only I don't have any wool sweaters I'm willing to give up. I could make a trip to the local thrift store for some. They should be on sale now. But again, I'm a little impatient and when I want to try something I don't really want to have to wait.

I was thinking that my new hat could use a bit of flair and thought why not make a felted flower? I didn't really have the time to go to a couple of thrift stores and find the right sweater to use. I wanted someting now. I had a moth-eaten cashmere sweater that I couldn't bear to throw away. I was never going to wear it again. Why not give it a second life? Would it work?

So I went on line to find instructions on how to felt cashmere. It seemed easy enough - put the sweater in a pillow case or bag and throw it in the wash with a couple pairs of jeans. Done and done.

The only problem is I didn't pin the bag closed and the sweater came out of the bag. What used to be a light pink sweater now was a bit darker having come in contact with the jeans. But also the results weren't what I was expecting. The fibers didn't really mesh like I thought they would. So I turned back to the internet and found out that cashmee doesn't really felt all that well.

So its back to the drawing board for the flower. I can try to re-felt the sweater or I can sew the edges of the flower to keep it from freying. Or I can try option C, whatever that is.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 17 - Madhattter

I made a hat to replace the hat from Melissahappystuff that I lost. Perhaps I should say to wear instead of the hat, because nothing can replace that hat. It was wonderful.

But I am all about instant gratification. I wanted a new hat. I needed a new hat. After all it was still -25 windchill so a hat was a complete necessity. So I decided to make myself a hat which I knew I could complete in a few days.

I found a cloche pattern. I bought some yummy pink yarn. And I went to town. Once I get started on a new project like this, I can't stop until I'm finished. So I kept on crocheting the hat, ignoring the other projects I had lying around.

I finally finished late last night. I think it looks pretty good. Not as good as the original but its pretty and warm. I think it stil needs some flair to make it perfect.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 16 - Creating A Mess

Today's post is a cross-post with my other blog But Why Mommy where I blog about all things related to my family and my daughter Bunny. This post is all about our differing approaches to the creative process. (There is no picture accompanying this post because I am very close to finishing a hat I started yesterday - to replace the one I lost. And I want to show it in all of its glory tomorrow.)

Bunny is very creative. She loves to draw and color and paint. It makes her happy.

And seeing her happy makes me happy. I love that she loves art. It makes completing this challenge so much easier that I can sit down and create along side my budding Picasso.

And her approach to art is very inspirational. She just dives in. She doesn't care what people think. She only wants to put the paintbrush, crayon or marker on paper and see what comes out. I love listening to her little comments as she is going along. "Oooh Daddy's gonna to love this." "Isn't it pretty, momma?" "When I'm done its gonna be so nice."

She's all about the process. She doesn't sweat the details because its going to turn out just fine. She doesn't agonize if there is a mistake because there are no mistakes. Every stroke belongs on the paper just where it is.

Now she and I have received about the same amount of artistic training, which is to say none. However, I often freeze when it comes to the output because its not what its supposed to be. Its not "art". I've seen art and what I produce isn't art. So I get frustrated and scrap project after project because its not perfect.

That is why I am loving the challenge of creating everyday. I have to throw caution to the wind. I have to get over my preconcieved notions about what is or isn't art. I have to let go of the hang-ups I have over my abilities or lack of abilities.

In other words, I need to get in touch with my inner three year old.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 15 - Cold

Its cold here in Wisconsin. Well I guess that is a bit redundant because it is Wisconsin in the wintertime so of course its cold. What I mean to say is it is downright frigid outside, like we are living in a giant freezer.

So what do you do when its cold? You stay inside under a blanket and sip hot tea. And of course you research vacations to tropical locales which you of course cannot afford.

So then I ususally turn to the next best thing, looking for things to keep me warm. I have discovered a host of wonderful knitwear makers on Etsy. Seeing these fabulous designs make winter seem not that bad, even though it really is.

The first designer is Melissahappystuff. She makes the most wonderful hats. I bought one of her hats last year and it made me so happy every time I put it on. Unforunately I lost it yesterday, so now I have to find a new creation of hers. Maybe this one?

The second designer whose creations I covet is Fringe. One look at the gorgeous cowls and neck cozies and you know you'll be warm no matter the weather. This one is currently my favorite.

I also love the capelets in part because they harken back to a simpler era and in part because they are just so beautiful. I'm thinking this one would be a nice addition to my wardrobe.

Above I've also shown the piece I started yesterday, its a long scarf with a wave pattern on the edges. I haven't decided how thin it will be. I guess we'll just see how it goes.

I've also shown a scarf I did last year with a different wave or ruffle pattern. I just love it. The color is a lovely taupe with a hint of metalic. Unfortunately the metalic in the yarn makes it a bit itchy for every day wear, so its more of a special occasion scarf for now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 14 - Drawing

Lately I've been sketching to practice my drawing skills. I've never been happy with what I draw. It looks like something but never exactly like what I want it to look like. It was ok though because I never had to show anyone what I've drawn.

Until now. That's the great and horrible thing about this blog. I have to record my efforts. I have to show the internets what I have done.

But because of the certain anonimity of the blog I don't feel so bad about showing my work. I am sitting in my house and you are where ever you are. I can't hear what you think. I can't hear it if you laugh and say my 5 year old could draw that. You are free to comment whatever you would like but the anticipation of the comment is not enough to scare me off.

So here it is, a page from my sketch book. A simple drawing of a girl and flowers. It is what it is, my creation, my practice, my attempts at getting better. It is mine.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 13 - Valley of the Dolls

Yesterday's brief and gramatically incorrect posting showed some figures I had traced out of fashion magazines. I've been interested in fashion design for a while (heck I even took a design class which was hampered by my distinct lack of sewing ability) and I was looking for a way to incorporate it into my art.

A while back I made some paperdoll earrings with the dolls cut out of magzines. I tried making little outfits for them but I never quite got it right. So when I started this little project I knew I would play around with the dolls again.

I am working on my drawing skill but I don't feel comfortable enough drawing figures yet. So I decided to trace the images and cut them out of paper for this first go 'round. I then took some hand-painted paper to make the dress for the dolly. I think its pretty cute, but I would love to create some more involved designs for the dolls. You'll probably be seeing some more of these creations in the coming days and weeks.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 12

Today my computer s broen. Lots of letters are mssng. So today's post wll be short.

Traced pctures out of magaznes for to use later.

Sorry for the typng.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 11

The cool thing about starting this blog and crafting or making something everyday is that the possibilities are endless. I can do anything. Just as long as I try to indulge that creative side that I've been ignoring for so long.

Yesterday, we had my daughter's 3rd birthday party at our house. It was exhausting and stressful. I thought I was going to lose my mind. With all the preparations and planning, there was no way I was going to pick up a pencil, a paint brush or a hook. I could not bring myself to do anything. The party was going to break me.

But then I realized that I had indeed made something. I took various ingredients, mixed them together and created something from nothing. I made a birthday cake from scratch. I melted chocolate. I mixed. I baked. I frosted. I made a gloriously wonderful cake and I had never done that before.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 10 - Its a Sad Little Sweater

So the sweater saga continues. When I said I could crochet, apparently I was wrong. Tension is now my problem. Some rows are fine and some are wonky. If I keep this up, the sweater should be finished just in time for Jellybean to start college. But of course it won't fit her then. Fail.

It's just sad that this is all I have to report. I wish it was more interesting but I'm afraid its not.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 9 - Oops

Remember the other day when I bragged about how I am completely self-taught when it comes to most of my crafts? Apparently that's fine when it comes to some things but not when it comes to others.

As I mentioned, I am making a sweater for my friend's new baby. I have never made a sweater before. I figured a baby sweater would be easier for my first try so I went ahead and bought the yarn and pattern.

I followed the pattern and went on my merry way. Everything looked fine, but it wasn't. When I finished all the rows of the body and was preparing to attach the shoulders, I noticed the pattern had measurements. So I got out my tape measure to make sure I was doing it right. Yeah, I wasn't. The measurement was completely off.

It seems I forgot to check the gauge. The pattern called for a G hook or whatever hook needed to get the gauge. Because I didn't use the right size hook to get the gauge, the sweater was too small. So I had to rip it out and start all over again, this time using the proper hook.

I felt so stupid but it never really mattered for the hats and scarves I'd made before so I didn't check. Lesson learned. Always check the gauge. Unless you like to make and remake things. And there will be no picture today because its just too depressing.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 8 - All Wired Up

When it comes to crafting, I am basically self taught. Its not that I am opposed to taking classes, I just don't want to waste my time. I would rather play around with things trying to figure out how to make it work the way that I want, than have someone tell me I'm doing it wrong. So if someone asks me how to make a wrapped loop or some other jewelry technique, I could tell them how I do it but it wouldn't necessarily be textbook correct.

I guess I'm just independent that way. Or maybe just stupid. Whatever it is, it just works for me.

A several years ago I was in New York visting my friend. At one store I saw a ring made out of knit or crocheted wire. It looked so delicate and intricate. I wanted it. But it cost $100 so that was not going to happen. So I said I'll just make one myself.

I didn't really think much of it again for a few years until I saw another piece of crocheted jewelry. Finally I decided I had to make one for myself. The only problem is I didn't know how to crochet at all. So I bought a teach yourself crochet book and taught myself. A few scarves later I figured I was ready to move on to wire.

Once I tried it, I was hooked (groan). You can create really cool things with normal hooks. Or you can by the teeny tiny hooks and create more delicate designs. I've been playing around with this for a while but haven't added much to my storebecause I haven't figured out how to photograph them to show off the intracacies of the design. (Its part user error and part wrong camera for the job.)

These are two works in progress. The chain will most likely be made into a necklace with the circles going all the way around. The other will most likely be a pendant.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 7 - Miscellaneous stuff

I started this "project" without any real set goals as to what I was going to do while crafting. I was just going to go with the flow, which is good and bad. Its good because I can have a day like Monday where I manage only to crochet a row of a sweater (which needed to be redone yesterday by the way).

But its also bad because some days I don't know what to do. Should I paint? Should I draw? Should I make jewelry? Should I crochet? Should I collage? Should I do a little from column A, a little from column B with some column Z thrown in?

Yesterday was one of those A, B and Z days. I did a little bit of everything but not enough to have something to show for it. Which is fine, I kept my resolution. But it kind of makes blogging about it boring. But since I've resolved to blog anyway, you my dear readers, get to hear about a lot of nothing. Lucky you.

Over the weekend I bought the book Lotta Prints by Lotta Jansdotter. Which is about printing with things like stencils, leaves, potatoes and linoleum. I bought it for inspiration and to try out some of the projects (its not really a project book but this is what you need to try x type of printing).

I thought I'd try making my own stencils first but I didn't have the supplies. So I figured I'd just put the book aside until I could get them. But when I opened the phone book a leaf fell out. I forgot Bunny and I had collected them during the fall and pressed them with every intention of using them later. Well now was later so why not try leaf printing? I hadn't done it since girl scouts it might be fun.

It was kind of fun but dried leaves don't really hold up too well. They tend to crumble a bit when you move them around. The ginko leaf completely disintegrated over the course of the experiment. The juniper leaf lost several needles. So while the effect was cool, the practice was kind of messy.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 6 - ConFLUsion

So apparently yesterday in my fluish state I forgot how I set up this blog. I craft one day and post about it the following day. I did it like this because there will be the inevitable crazy day where I won't have time to pick up anything until the evening. And because I am an early bird I wouldn't have the energy to blog.

So for the first 4 days it worked properly. Craft then blog the next day. Yesterday I blogged about my pathetic attempt to crochet a row whilst lying on my couch that very same day. By doing so I completely skipped what I did on Sunday, there by messing everything up. So now my day 6 post is really going to be about day 5 (or day 4, I don't know) crafting which is just making me all confuzzled. I'm not even sure I understand what is going on anymore.

Oh yeah right, I did actually craft on Sunday. I've been playing around with paper jewelry. Making little pendants out of magazine images and the like. I have a few in my shop. But I was never satisfied with how I was coating them so a lot when unfinished.

On a recent trip to the craft store I picked up some new protective coatings to try out with mixed results. In fact some of the pendants were ruined, like the bird and the small flower. I had this idea in mind but I wasn't sure how to achieve it. So I turned to the experts on Etsy, the mixed media artists and they gave me some good advice, Diamond Glaze. So now I am on a search for it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 5 - Crafting from My Sick Bed

I along with a mulitude of others have been hit by some sort of flu bug. At first I thought this would be the end to crafting (and posting) every day. This seems to be right about the time millions of Americans give up their resolutions. Was I going to be one of them?

Early on it sure seemed like it. There was no way that I could get up and sit at a table to paint (I've taken 5 breaks while posting this much already). I could grab my sketch book and doodle for a while. But that would require finding my sketch book and I didn't really feel like doing that.

So there I lay on the couch cursing the world and my husband who gave me this stupid bug. I was being subjected to a toddler trying to amuse herself by jumping on me and having toy dinosaurs dance on my legs. It was fun. Time to cash it in, pull the covers over my head and forget this day ever happened.

But then I looked over on the side table and a ball of yarn. I could grab it without really moving so I reached over to see what it was. It was a sweater I had started to crochet for my friend's baby. Huzzah (as she would say)! I could lay on the couch and crochet a row. I didn't even have to lift my head very far off of the pillow. My resolution would remain in tact for one more day. Yippee!

And now that this has been posted, I'm going back to the couch. (In case you were wondering it took 2 hours to write this post - now that is dedication).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 4 - Lazy

Its a lazy weekend for me. I didn't get much crafting done but was able to finish this ACT.

It is a collage using vintage book pages, beads and thread. I cut the branches and leaves out of paper rather than drawing them. This made it harder to achieve the effect I wanted but I think it turned out ok.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 3 - And The Answer Is . . .

Day 3.

What is the question you might ask? How many days could I write in this blog that is just for me without mentioning my daughter?

Three days?! That is pretty ridiculous. I mean I have an entire separate blog where I post about all things mommy and daughter. She is the star of the show there. This blog is all about me, my life, my art, my stuff.

So why would I mention her here? Well it has everything to do with today's post. You see Bunny wanted to bust out the water colors yesterday and paint away. I love watching her paint - way, way too much water on the brush, the brush stabbed repeatedly into the colors until they are mere puddles of liquid. She is only 3(almost) but she has a good sense of color. Its a fun experience.

When she paints, I paint too. Usually I'll just make stuff that I will cut up later and use in collages. I'd rather make my own decorative paper than buy it because I'm cheap like that (plus I control the output). So I got out a few sheets of my old letterhead from work and we went to town.

But then I started thinking what if I painted the background of a piece rather than using my papers? It would be the same effect but different. Instead of having marbled papers glued onto the piece, I would paint the marbled effect myself. Hmm, this is interesting. I liked it.

And as always is the case when there is a toddler with a paintbrush, she has to help out. I had a green-blue background that I was envisioning doing something floral on later. Well Bunny came over to look with her big paintbrush dripping with purple paint and a big drop fell on it. Hmm, interesting. So I played with her addition and came up with something cool.

I'm not sure what, exactly, I'll do with these backgrounds but I think they turned out pretty good.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 2

All my life I said I was not artistic. I could not draw things that resembled other things. I could not paint. I could not . . .

I was always crafty. I made ribbon barrettes in grade school and tried to sell them in a store. In high school I sewed little rosettes on to T-shirts and sold them. I always enjoyed making stuff. It was what I did.

When I started making jewelry, I began to see ways in which I was making art. I was painting in the way that I combined stones. I was sculpting when I twisted wire.

Once I changed my definition of artistic, I became an artist. Was I ever going to be the next Monet or Picasso? No of course not. But it didn't matter. I could make art in my own way.

Part of this year long challenge is pushing my creative boundaries. I am going to paint. I am going to draw. Maybe what I am painting or drawing won't look exactly like what it's supposed to look like. But again I'm okay with that.

I'm starting off making the ATCs because they are small. They are confined. And in that way they are freeing. I won't have to worry about filling in all the space. I can just experiment.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day 1 - Every Day I Write This Blog

Well that's the plan at least, to write in this blog every day for 1 year. 365 days of crafting and blogging.

I was thinking about the things that you do every day. The list is pretty small: eat, sleep, use the bathroom. And I've pulled all nighters during college and law school so there have been years where I didn't sleep every day. I'm also sure there have been days I've skipped eating too (the flu or some ill advised diet thing). So the only thing I'm sure I've done every day is use the bathroom. And that is a biological need.

But this blog and my resolution to craft every day is not a necessity. It is a choice. A choice that I have made to move beyond my comfort zone. Its a little bit scary but exciting at the same time.

So here is day one of my experiment. It is an Artist Trading Card created using paper from an old book on nature. The section details the parts of a flower so I have chosen to draw a flower over it using watercolor pencils. There are also a bead, button and hand stitching added as accents.

Over all I'm pretty pleased with my first try.