Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thinking of the lofty variety...

Like so many, I am evaluating my year quite a bit and making some goals for 2012. I'm not a big resolution person (I am a huge resolution quitter), but I do like to make lists and goals and lists and goals and then a list or two about my lists of goals. 
This year I've thought so much about my place in the creative world. Should I be "out there" trying to get into shows and meeting people, trying to network? Should I be trying to just sell my product, open to wholesaling, visiting independently-owned shops? Should I be nestled at home since I very clearly have not come even close to defining myself as a creative? Hmmmm...
I know that I need to get back to the "try it" stage of making things. I want to learn how to use paper clay, and sculpey. I definitely want to try paper cutting. I would love to design a poster. I'm also completely infatuated with doll-making. Obscure, people-would-say, "You call that a doll?" making. My kids will still wear clothes that I freezer paper stencil for them, and it is so. much. fun. Need to definitely do more of that. I will paint.
I'm extremely interested in printmaking, but I don't think 2012 will find me doing it. It also won't find me in a much-needed photography class or taking sewing - both things would be good, but alas, hours are limited. I want to write more - don't know exactly what I mean by this, but when it happens, I'll recognize it. I also want to journal - I make 'em, and I make samples of how to use them, but my own journals are collecting dust. Not in 2012.

Are you making creative goals for your life these days? xo

Note: ceramic heart made by the uber talented ceramic artist, Jo Hart. When she has an online presence, I will post it here immediately. The bowls were lovely treasures I found with a friend at an art fair in Easton, Connecticut years ago.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Solstice!

Wishing you days of joy and light. See you next week. xo

Monday, December 19, 2011


Our family is always a tad bit behind, last minute, late. But the holidays are here (all three of my children are asleep right now at 8:35 a.m. I have no memory of this happening ever before), and we are finally getting started...cookies to decorate, fudge to make, solstice to plan for, presents to create, wrapping - so much wrapping to do. All good. Wishing you a lovely week! xo

Monday, December 12, 2011

Random Monday (and lotsa link love)

1. I'm sorry I can't figure out how to show it here, but please check out our favorite Advent calendar ever. This fun (hilarious) site gets my kids to jump out of bed in the morning - glorious!

2. It's possible that I had three cups of coffee and a spoonful of Nutella for breakfast this morning.

3. If you are a mom, please take three minutes to watch this: it is affirming, and cleansing and beautiful.

4. I'm jumping on the tie-yarn-around-a-wreath-form bandwagon and I can't wait. These wreaths are all over the internet, but here's a tutorial, and here's another. This is how far I am right now (below) - but stay tuned!
5. We have not put up one holiday decoration yet. Both boys have projects due this week (by Wednesday though) and it would have been too tempting to ignore the work in favor of decorating. Again, stay tuned!

6. We will make these this year. I'm always about three years behind on projects that sweep the internet it seems. I can't wait to see what my kids come up with.

7. My 40 percent off journal sale is this week - until Thursday! (had to throw that in)

8. Holy knitted bells Batman! I haven't planned for these, but oh how I would love to fit time in to make them.

9. One more day to buy-one-get-one-free on Heather's Whole Foods class.

10. Even though I have nothing to show for it here, I am feeling an out-of-character optimism and calm-ness about this holiday season. Hope you are too!

Happy Monday! xo

Sunday, December 11, 2011

HUGE journal sale {coupon code below}

 HUGE journal sale
40 percent off all journals
now until Thursday
enter coupon code "journal40" to redeem discount

And please feel free to forward this to all of your 
journal-loving, notebook-loving, list-loving, doodle-loving friends! xo

Friday, December 9, 2011

Buy Local this weekend (and not from me!)

The Contemporary Show was so terrific! The community was great, the atmosphere divine (literally divine), the music totally fun, the crowd enthusiastic and appreciative. A great evening. More later, but I wanted to give locals a heads up to three studio shows happening this weekend - three great opportunities to buy local and handmade for your holiday gifting!

Duncan Designs and friends
Carla Mash Duncan
DeBaliviere neighborhood (by Wash U.)
amazing jewelry, art, felted soaps, scarves and more
Saturday 10:30 to 4:30
6170 McPherson, 63112

Annie Scheumbauer
beautiful paintings, silk scarves, cards and more
Saturday 10 to 5 p.m.
1109 South Taylor, 63110

Cash and Carry Christmas
paintings, stationery, rubber stamps and more
Saturday noon to 5 p.m.
3156 Shenandoah Avenue, 63104

Happy Weekend! I have a whole lot of holiday work to do! xo

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oh what fun it is to say...

"I have a little show coming up at the Contemporary!" Oh, how I will miss dropping that into conversations!
 Show Me Etsy
Contemporary Art Museum
6 to 9 p.m.
free admission
cash bar (bring canned goods for a drink ticket)

Hope to see you!!!

And to my out-of-town's all holiday all the time over here after tonight! Thanks for checking in even with all the self-promotion going on! xo

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Coincidence and rambling...

Do you believe in coincidence? Here are two that have happened to me this very week:

1. The above photo is of an ephemera journal that I need to finish for my last show (this Thursday - details below). I love this cover and I've been thinking that I should keep it (but I often think that). It's far more simple and plain than my "usual." Well, I cannot find the back cover anywhere. I'm thinking that I will find it first thing Friday morning, and since I'll have no other shows, it will be my next personal journal - so I can't find it to finish it and might not be able to sell it when I love it - coincidence?

2. True story (you may not believe this one). I was talking to someone yesterday about perspective and our children - how some things feel very very big, but in the grand scheme of life, they are nothing. But in the moment, we have to honor the big while being the safe place that teaches about the nothing part too - gently. Anyways, in our talking I said, "It's like when (name) didn't like me in 5th grade. All the girls loved him and he never ever ever liked me back..." It felt very big way back then (his name was for sure on my notebook for goodness sakes) but you know, whatev. So I also said, "How funny that I can't even remember his last name when we all were so crazy about him (blah blah blah)." I go to my Facebook page last night and there he is - recommended to me as a possible friend - sitting there in a suit and tie with his last name right there! Oh yeah!!!! That was his last name. So I haven't seen him or possibly thought about him in 25+ years - is this a coincidence?

That's all - only two. Although some people believe things happen in threes, so if something else happens I'll let you know.

My last show of the season is this Thursday (tomorrow) at the Contemporary Art Museum, 6 to 9 p.m. Free admission, free drink ticket if you bring canned goods to donate to Food Outreach, 30 etsy vendors from Missouri and a pizza Food Truck outside. It's going to be good! xo

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A delicious nut-free snack - Pepitas!

David is the cook in our family. Seriously. The guy is talented. I am the utilitarian, the-kids-can't-go-to-bed-unless-they've-eaten cook and while I can follow a recipe, I have very little intuition in the kitchen (unfortunately). So if you are a cook like David, you may not actually even consider this a recipe. But if you are a cook like me...well, here you go!

Here is one of our family's favorite snacks. Easy and delish:

Roasted Pepitas
Pepitas are also called Mexican pumpkin seeds and they can be found in most bulk food sections in grocery stores. They are inexpensive - even when organic. And if your kids love salty, but you have to stay away from tree-nuts at school, this is a great snack. (And yes, you can buy them already roasted, but they do not compare in taste...not even close.)

You will need raw pepitas, some salt that you like and Pam Cooking spray or something like it.
Dump a bunch of pepitas in a pan and turn your burner to a medium setting - you do not want to cook the pepitas too quickly. Spray the seeds one time with Pam and sprinkle on a small pinch of salt.
Shake the pepitas to get the bottom ones to the top, spray lightly one more time and sprinkle with salt. Stir or shake frequently to keep the pepitas moving while they roast.
It will take less than 5 minutes to roast a big batch. Pepitas actually pop like popcorn, so you'll know you're on the right track when you hear them popping. Finally, when about half of them are browned, I spray one more time lightly and add one more small pinch of salt.  
They are delicious warm or at room temperature. They'll keep for quite a while in a sealed container although they never last here long enough for me to know exactly how long you can store them. Here is a photo to show you how the color will change raw to roasted.
David built us these beautiful shelves for our nuts and grains because our old house has no storage. We copied them pretty much exactly from Heather. I kind of want to be Heather.
Anyways, she's introducing a new class today, so check it out if you're interested in infusing more whole food goodness into your days.

Do you have mixed feelings about cooking spray? Maybe reading this will help. And here is more than you need to know about the nutritional benefits of pepitas. xo!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Learning lessons...

The artful blogging community is usually very positive and negatives are usually about personal things, not professional (it seems) so I hesitated to write this post. But then I decided that this experience is an important step in whatever direction this creative life of mine will take me. So here it is.

I had my first devastating show this weekend. I won't tell you where, but the photo above is only 1/4 of the room - filled with vendors. In my "square" I was the only vendor who made my things myself. Everyone else was connected to a home-party-sale system or a mass produced system. I think for the hosts, the sale was a wonderful community builder and this was great. But for me, well, I'm going to tell you what mistakes I made (and realized in hindsight).

1. I didn't call/email the hosts and ask specifically who else might be in the show. If I wasn't comfortable asking for a list of vendors, I could have most certainly asked what percentage of the vendors sold handmade items.

2. I made assumptions from the application. Since the letter and application read as if the show was juried, I assumed that the show was competitive. The application questions lead me to believe that this was a handmade vendor sale so I assumed that everything there would be handmade. Next time, I will email before submitting my payment. Another hint should have been that there was no wording, "Artist must be onsite to sell his/her own items..." This is a common expectation of shows that fit my work, and I should have noticed that this wording wasn't there.

3. I didn't question the table fee. The table fee was $100 which is quite high for handmade - maybe not for other kinds of sales, or larger booth sizes, but for an 8' space in gym for a 3-hour sale, this fee was high. I should have wondered who was able to pay this fee.

I don't have anything against the "host a party - earn free things" world. That model has provided thousands with financial freedom, flexibility in scheduling, independence. Yeah! But for me to walk into a show, compliment a volunteer on her sweater and have her point and say, "It was just $29 from that woman over there....". Well, that was how my day started and how it continued. I can't compete with $29 factory made.

The good thing that came of it all was that I stood there next to my creations and looked people in the eyes, said hello, answered questions when asked (I did receive some lovely compliments). Just over a year ago, I had never done this, and honestly I don't know if I could have done it. So yin and yang - lessons learned, lessons learning...

Back to the grind!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December!

I know you don't need to be reminded that it is now December. And I'm guessing you also know that winter holidays are right around the corner. But I would like to remind you to try to buy handmade and local when you can. That's all.

Wishing you all a peace-filled, gratitude-filled December. xo

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Friday recap

Last year I didn't take pictures of our Black Friday sale because I was trying to be "in the present." This year, I didn't take pictures because we were busy every single minute! We shortened the show by one hour and closed at 4 p.m. and we had people shopping literally from 9:59 a.m. until after 4. We had 10 artists this year and everyone was really pleased with how they sold. The guest feedback was terrific.

At one point, two police officers came in and the air changed (can you imagine it?). But they were in the neighborhood and just wanted to shop. All was well!

Every year I want to post holiday stuff (favorite crafts and recipes, lovely blog posts, etc.) and every year we're too busy. So I think in 2012, I will have a week of "Christmas in July" where I post these things as well as my pointers for hosting a Black Friday sale. I think we're onto something special here - encouraging the holiday tradition of Black Friday while supporting local artists.

To those of you who were able to come - thank you!!!! xo