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Archive for January, 2011

Sorry been MIA…this weekend I cranked through a bunch of custom orders…the last of the bunch as I’ve decided to no longer to take custom requests for a multitude of reasons.  Soon I’ll be free to follow my heart and creative muse, wherever it takes me.

Anyhow, I did manage to let my creative spirit have at it on canvas last weekend…hearts on the mind:

 

The red background for “potential heart” is actually foil candy wrappers that I saved from a recent chocolate binge (LOL!).  I really look at things differently now.  Before it was “how can I upcycle this into a new product?”  Now it’s “how can I glue this down and use in one of my pieces?”  It’s all still eco-art!

Would love to get another girl or two completed this weekend.  And then since I won’t be doing custom orders which are tying up most of my time right now, I’ll be able to get all my prints/cards/etc. loaded to my shop as I know some of you have been asking when pieces I post here will be selling online.

I didn’t get all my valentine cards up as I had hoped…but I’m choosing to just let it go.  Maybe next year.  Trying to time seasonal stuff just isn’t my strong suit!

I did just sell my “You are Loved” box and decided to make a card set from all sides of the box and will be selling those soon as I find them so fun and whimsical.

I did want to share my new favorite things…totally eco-friendly vintage-y gift tags!  These guys are not only printed on FSC certified and recycled sticker sheets (with recyclable adhesive); they are also attached to reused pizza/cereal boxes giving them thickness/rigidity.  I have these up in my goodies shop now:

I have about 6 more different sets made up as well – just need to photograph and list them, so if you like this kind of thing, check back as I hope to have them up later this week!

Right now it’s freezing fog…a phenomenon I hadn’t witnessed until I moved to Colorado and it’s such a pretty sight…think of those fake snow covered pine needles.  That’s what it looks like minus snow on the ground…just clinging to trees, shrubs and grasses.  Pretty sight…I’ll try to share with you all tomorrow as we’ll be hunkering down.  The temp is not supposed to get above zero tomorrow (and that’s not including wind chill) so we’re going to take it easy and maybe have a movie marathon on our “Saturday.”

Hope the week is off to a good start for the rest of you!!

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Back in October, I wrote this post about how I had just learned that I was going to be published in my favorite publication, Green Craft Magazine, for a contest I submitted to in July (and won!).  And though I was elated, I tried to not get my hopes up as I knew that they will typically offer a gallery of submissions, each feature being a small 3×5 piece.  I was still excited about that prospect though…my first time being published (actually, I’ve been quoted several times and helped to write articles in trade journals before when I worked in retail management, but never being selected by a widely respected art magazine for something I’ve created!).

Imagine my surprise when I received my complimentary copy today (though I already subscribe, nice to have two in this instance) and I realized that not only did I get a 2 page spread but it was also the first article of the magazine!  I must admit, I quickly shut the magazine while I hyperventilated for a bit, then slowly opened it up…like I was expecting something to jump out.

In addition to the 2-page spread, a paragraph about my passion for eco-crafting is on the following page along with my bio/contact info.

Oh.  My.  God.  They referred to me as a green entrepreneur!  I think I just might pee my pants.  Sorry, TMI perhaps.

As soon as he celebrated with me, David half-jokingly said to me, “so much for days off!” and “nice knowing ya!”  This is the magazine in the eco-crafting world, so it will be interesting to see how this translates to traffic to my main site.

A commenter on a previous post asked me if I was sure that simplicity was what I was truly seeking.  He got me thinking and perhaps it is not (certainly I don’t feel like I’m living a simpler life these days).  I never expected things to take off so quickly as they have.  I think I need to rethink my goals and redo my byline again…:)

I must admit…I’m unbelievably excited and scared all at once.  But for sure, I am honored and so grateful for the incredible opportunity.  It’s such a thrill to tick off something on your life bucket list.  Getting published in art magazine…Check!

If you are interested in scoping this edition out, you can usually find in Barnes & Nobles, Borders and Michael’s Arts/Crafts Stores.  As added bonus, my friend and fellow EcoEtsy teammate (and also customer as I make her custom eco-friendly stickers for her products) Jane of ZJayne is featured on the cover!  What an honor for her.  She is so lovely and unassuming and talented.  She totally deserves the recognition!

Thanks for letting me share my excitement!

xo

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I created this piece for my sister about a month ago and waited to send it to her for her birthday which was yesterday.  So now I can share it with you all!

Enjoy the message…

Grow Flowers of Gratitude in the soil of prayer – Verbena Woods

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You may recall my post last August about my first (yes first) time antique shopping.  Until the last year or two, I was never into antiques, instead preferring a more modern style.  But as my life slowed down and I returned back to basics, so did my appreciation for the way “it used to be.”

Now, there are a lot of tacky vintage/antique goods that I can’t stand and I definitely look for more of a shabby chic style, but it’s so fun to go back in time and imagine the history of each of those items.

Today we went to my favorite antique mall near Denver.  This particular place is huge, the size of an average Best Buy, with about a hundred or so booths sponsored by individual (unstaffed) vendors.  It takes a good 3-4 hours to go through the whole place and it’s a very nostalgic process.  I see old rustic, silver spoons and jelly jars reminiscent of my grandmother.  I see old corelle dishes with the same patterns my mom had when I was growing up.  I even see old toys I once played with 30 years ago.

And I also see stunningly beautiful antique furniture circa the early 1900′s, old Victorian photos and even kitschy Americana.

I snuck my camera in today and snapped some pics of my favorite finds…

First, there is nothing more that I love than really old wood (peeling paint a bonus!) and galvanized steel/corrugated tin items…like:

Watering can birdhouses anyone?

Along these lines, I’m also drawn to old wooden crates…

Old mason jars…especially when tinted blue/green or adorned with rustic lids like these…

and antique washboards…

There were kitchy, retro and/or silly things like:

Look, less fattening and cooked in hydrogenated oils! ;)

 

Yes, eat all you want! :0

These "chapeau's" remind me of my grandmother!

Now I'm kinda wishing I bought this crazy photo!

And of course, being in Colorado, there were lots of Old West goods…

Old skis and bindings

Barbed wire collection, anyone?

Ah yes, it was a good day…and although I didn’t manage to keep my wallet at home, I did leave only $50 lighter (antique box, antique frame and some old Victorian pics).  And to think I used to hate antiques before, oh the horror!

What are some of your favorite antique finds?

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Oofta…

I don’t know where we picked up this word, but Oofta is a word that David and I use often when expressing surprise and amazement and not in a necessarily good way…As in, “Oofta, what a mess” or “Oofta, what happened here?”

Here’s what Wikipedia/Wiktionary says:

oofta

Scandinavian-American slang.

  1. (US, chiefly upper midwest) A mild expression of error, dismay, or concern (often in a comical sense).

Synonyms

  • good grief
  • oh no
  • oi
  • oy vey
  • uh oh

Right now, it’s Oofta, what a week.

Last night I did a first ever  – I pulled an all-nighter for work; not for college exams or staying out with friends as in my more youthful days but for work.  And it wasn’t  just an all-nighter, but a 21 hour bender.  Yes, I worked from 9:30 in the morning on Sunday and continued working straight through to 6:30 this morning.  Not exactly what I had in mind when I embarked on the journey toward a simpler life.

As has been the new norm of late, I’ve been getting a lot of orders on the weekends and since David has been helping out at work covering double shifts on Sundays, I’ve been utilizing Sundays as my catch up day.  But this week in addition to my regular orders, I had two large custom orders to work on and really underestimated how long they would take to complete.

And my problem is that I tend to overpromise on how quick I can complete a project, but I also never undeliver.  I always make my timeline, the people-pleaser in me, even at my own detriment.  I even went to sleep after being up all night, only to get up 3 hours later to finish my orders.

I think I need an intervention.

Problem is, I’m working on things that probably aren’t the best use of my time, that don’t yield a great deal of profit or satisfaction, so I’m using this “weekend” (Tues/Wed. are our weekends) to go back to the drawing board to fine tune my business plan even further.  And though I typically continue to put together/pack up orders during our “weekends” (since people expect shops to be operational during business days), I’ve decided to close up shop(s) until Friday so that I can rest, renew and make sure I get back on the right track.

Money is a powerful lure, as is the desire to get sales (and pay off my business credit card), but not at the cost of work/life balance (which is that much more challenging when you work from home).  I left the corporate world so that I could spend more time at home (which I do) and with David and the dogs (which I do) but lately I’ve lost my original goal…of less work and more simple pleasures.

So for the next couple of days, I plan on sleeping, reading, snuggling… maybe even browsing my favorite antique mall (must leave said business CC at home so I don’t keep falling into the pattern of work/spend then working more to pay off the spending).  And avoiding the addictive urge to check email every 5 minutes.

And perhaps at the end of the week, I can exchange my oofta for an ahh….

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Duck, duck, duck, GOOSE!

Yes, that’s exactly what they are…eggs, that is.

I recently found out that a local acquaintance keeps chickens, ducks, even geese and sells their eggs.  I was happy to have a back-up plan because although we love the eggs we get from our local guys, sometimes their girls go dry or they have so many customers to supply that they aren’t able to give us the amount we wish to purchase.  Having a back-up plan means always having enough eggs in our household (not only do we love ‘em, we also like to add to our dogs kibble a couple times a week).

But when I recently purchased from her, she included a couple extra, larger and speckled gems.  Turkey, duck and goose eggs.

I admit, I was a little squeemish to try them.  I knew cognitively that they were just another type of poultry egg, but still they were unfamiliar.  But I referred back to a memory when I was traveling for work and a rep took my colleague and I out to dinner and we shared a bunch of entrees a la buffet style.  One of the entrees was duck and though I skipped the first go around, I decided to give it a try when the rest of my dinner mates went on incessantly about how good it was.  And they were right.  Note to self, be open to trying new foods.

So last week we fried ‘em and with trepidation, I took my first bite.  And you know what?  It tasted just like a chicken egg…except 10 times richer.  The yolk was buttery rich, like a hollaindaise sauce.

This week we ordered more, though will only be doing so on rare occasions as each egg is about as expensive as an entire dozen of chicken eggs; though I like supporting a local food “artisan.”

Have you tried finding local eggs?  I implore you to support local food; good for you and your local economy!

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So sometime last week I had an urge of inspiration late one night and proceeded to sketch out/draw a bunch of girls (5 to be exact, which is a crazy amount for me).  I had not completed a new “girl” in several weeks instead opting for swirly hearts and trees, so it was refreshing to get back.

Earlier this week I sat down to complete two of them, which as you’ll see are very different from one another:

I’ve been wanting to do a friendship piece for a long time.  And although this isn’t a picture of me with someone, I’m always very cognizant of the fact that much of the mixed media girls out there are very fair, blonde women, so I’m always trying to include women of color in my art to reflect true sisterhood.

This next piece started off as a quirky way to utilize my god-mother’s stash of vintage buttons she recently gifted to me (LOVE!!); as the piece morphed, it reminded me of my “Aunt” Alice.  You know how everyone has an “aunt” that’s not really family?  I had Aunt Alice, an older, sweet lady who watched me as a toddler when my parents did a couple’s getaway for a week.  She soon became a cherished member of the family and called everyone “Love” as in, “Love, can you get me that glass on the top shelf…”  She was syrupy sweet even though she was married to a curmudgeon man.  I guess the sweet balanced the salty.

I always remember her having the softest, smoothest, “Olay” skin and a perfectly coiffed though illustrious beehive, which she wore all the way up until the day she passed away, a few years back.  She was fun, vibrant and young at heart.  She was an Eternal Girl.

I have 3 more girls I’m working on…including a prego (I love pregnant women!), so stay tuned!  :)

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So, as you’ve heard me before, I really hate wasting food.  It’s a major sore spot for me and I get uber disappointed when I toss food that I didn’t get to in time.

Produce is an easy target…it’s highly perishable and good intentions in the grocery store don’t always lend to good outcomes once home.

Take for example these shriveled up jalapenos I had in my bowl today.  I originally bought them for a recipe for jalapeno poppers (which, by the way were INSANELY good) from the Pioneer Woman.  And not just run of the mill poppers…no, we’re talking BBQ smothered, bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers.

But the recipe calls for 18 peppers (I sometimes forget that she’s cooking for 6 and there’s only 2 of us and I need to scale down the recipe portions!).  So I made the recipe using 1/2 the peppers, promising that I’d do another batch soon after.

Well, you know how this story goes…good intentions go out the window and today I’m staring at a bowl of shriveled peppers.  Still safe to eat, but too wimpy to hold a hefty portion of cheesy stuffing.  So I started thinking…how could I utilize this recipe yet with a twist?

I thought, CROSTINI’s!  That’s it!

Totally gratifying to have made use of something that was close to being tossed and we both agreed that we liked them even better on crostini’s and will be adding to our rotation.  Yum, yum, yum!

Because I changed the proportions some and changed ingredients and method, I feel safe listing the recipe here, but give mad props to The Pioneer Woman for the inspiration!

  • 9 jalapeno peppers (or a mix of jalapeno and bell peppers if you need it a bit milder, which I might need to next time as some bites had me near crying; I’m a weenie!)
  • 1 8oz. block cream cheese, softened to room temp.
  • 1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bunch of green onions (chopped down to the whites)
  • 1/2 c. BBQ sauce
  • 9 slices bacon
  • a loaf of italian/french bread or about 14 slices of 4″x2″ crusty bread

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake your sliced bread for about 5 min. or until lightly golden and crunchy (like toast).  Meanwhile cook up bacon to preferred level of “doneness” and set aside to chop, draining the pan of bacon grease, but not rinsing it out.  Chop up bacon.  Slice peppers lengthwise and remove membranes/seeds (wear gloves during the process…trust me on this!) and chop up; add to pan that was used to cook bacon.  Add BBQ sauce and chopped bacon and cook for about 5 minutes.  While cooking, make the cheese mixture (combine softened cream cheese, cheddar cheese and green onions) and spread over toasts.  Top with pepper/bacon mixture and cook for 10-15 minutes until nice and melted.  Grab a glass of milk and maybe even some celery sticks dipped in creamy salad dressing if you’re a wimp like me!

Enjoy!  And remember to think outside of the box and come up with some creative ways to use up food before it goes bad!

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Last week I mentioned that my words for 2011 were FOCUS and ORGANIZED.  Happily it has been working!  I’m getting to things that have been sitting on my to-do list for weeks.  The down-side is that I’ve been cranking out so much stuff that I haven’t been blogging as much.  Plus I feel like I’m not having anything exciting or new to report to you all.

I did get a rejection letter the other day from my favorite Arts Co-op in Boulder.  As excited as I was to get in, I wasn’t crushed when I got the letter.  I kind of thought “it wasn’t meant to be I suppose!”   But I’ll keep plugging along.  I did hear from my friend who has my work in her office at Whole Foods that her boss wants to see my stuff, so that’s potentially an opportunity down the road.  All in time.  Can’t rush it and I’ve already done so much in the 4 months that I’ve been selling my artwork.  It’s all good.

I haven’t done a shop update in the longest time, so here are some new items in my various shops:

Green Earth Goodies – lots of new Eco-Friendly Stickers (they seem to be quite popular with the scrapbooking community – who knew?!)

Green Earth Images – I’ve been neglecting this shop for months and really need to get more photography up; meanwhile, here’s where my new Valentine’s Day (and un-Valentine’s) greetings are going:

Green Earth Supplies – nothing exciting here, but here’s the kind of stuff I sell for those looking for eco-friendly supplies:

j.c.spock – my whimsical shop continues to be busy and I’m just adding more options (though I am working on 4 new “girls” and hope to have them completed this week!)

Thanks for browsing my goods and seeing the fruits of my two words for 2011!  Hope you’re having a great week!!

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So I really don’t have much to report…sorry, serious case of writer’s block.  I know I need to get some more eco-tips posts up…it’s been a while.  Just trying to spend as much time creating as possible as my mind is just flooded with ideas.  The other night I had an idea, so I started sketching while in bed.  That turned to 4 more sketches and then I felt the urge to start painting them, so that’s what I did…until 4am!

I’m grateful to have the kind of schedule and lifestyle that allows me to go with the flow.  Sooooo grateful.  And once my new pieces/girls are complete, I look forward to sharing with you.

Have lots of Valentine’s ideas on the brain…though I’m trying not to spend too much time with holidays as they don’t always translate into sales for me.  However, it’s not just about selling product…I truly enjoy creating seasonal crafts as I’m a sucker for different holidays and seasons and the emotions/excitement they impart.  And although David and I don’t get wrapped up in Valentine’s,  I do however love the imagery of hearts year round, so this time of year really lights up my eyes with the explosion of red hearts everywhere.  Not to mention I love the excuse to eat seasonal candies and chocolate anytime!

Here are some pics I took last year that I was hoping to sell as greeting cards but just got started too late, but will be able to this year:

And here are more of the silly ones I made last year using all the chewed up dog toys that Zoe terrorizes…she loves going for the eyes, so that’s will help to explain why most of them are without:

These have titles such as “I’ve been a pain in the ass,” “Love is blind”, “Love Hurts” and “Eye love you”…it started with one toy that I photographed just for fun and then David with his wicked sense of humor came up with a caption; next thing you know I was taking photos of dozens of toys, all beat to hell and we were just rolling in hysterics.  It all happened over the course of one hour and by the time the sun had set, I had an entire collection.  Funny how inspiration can strike out of the blue.

Both types of “Sweet” and “Surly” cards will be up in my goodies shop starting this weekend.  I have a bunch of surly ones to go along with my sweet scrabble greetings for this year, so stay tuned…

 

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