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Archive for September, 2011

…knows what she’s doing.  We decided to get up at 5am this morning to catch the sunrise over one of the many mountain ranges.  Mother Nature doesn’t disappoint.

We took the same scenic drive and captured shots from the other direction and to a rising sun…

and came across “woodland cows” as David calls them…free-range cows that traverse the mountain-side and roads…

But then we split off to Ohio Pass a bumpy, seemingly one-laned goat trail down a steep mountain range before it opened up to beautiful pastures…

And more cows…

Such beautiful land.

And then, we came across this sprawling ranch that went on and on…and as if it couldn’t get any better, I spotted it’s barn, which too me, looked like a dream house!

Isn’t it just beautiful?  My shabby-chic-vintage-farmhouse dreams have manifested in a barn (but I could retrofit that baby no problem!)  Trouble is, when I got home and googled the ranch, turns out that the property extends for 2,600 acres and recently sold for more than $10.9 million.  Ha!  I just want the barn…and the view…. ;)

View back into town of Crested Butte, courtesy of the hubby!

It’s our last night here (already) and though I’m sad to leave a place we love, I’m also looking forward to getting home, to my own bed and a regular routine (pups are acting wonky this week and I’m barely getting any sleep!).  Sure was nice to visit though…and dream…

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Oh…I’m in my happy spot.  Or I should say we both are as David loves Crested Butte as much as I do.  Renting a house and having our pups gives us a sense of what it would be like to live here and it’s such a happy thought.

Yesterday, we didn’t do much but unwind after a rough night of sleep with anxious pups, walked the main street, hung out at the indie cafe/bookstore, got sushi take-out and enjoyed the weather (70′s, sunny and dry).  Here’s the view from the house we’re staying at:

As my good friend Peg would say, “doesn’t suck”…not one bit. ;)

Today though we packed a picnic…

Our picnic spot

and headed out on Kebler Pass an incredibly scenic 20 mile road through nothing but aspen groves…

and multiple mountain ranges…

It’s just stunning (and this is just one of several scenic drives around here!)

The dogs enjoyed time hiking around and exploring…


It’s my favorite time of year, in my favorite spot on Earth and the weather is perfect.

So. stinking. happy.


Hope you all have a place that you can call your happy spot!

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Today’s a couch day…and is sorely needed.

I calculated that with the 20+ pieces I created this week, plus the 10-12 hours of scanning and editing images (which is thankfully being resolved) and 3 wholesale orders on top of regular processing of orders, that I’ve worked almost 100 hours since last weekend…most days from 8am to 11pm.  Now I realize that painting or making hundreds of bookmarks isn’t exactly strenuous work and I get the luxury of working in my PJs and having the TV on all day, but it’s still a LOT of hours and I’m…just…beat.

I haven’t taken a day off in a couple weeks, so today, after another rough night of sleep (and more 2am pee breaks by Sierra) and a bad headache, I finally declared it a couch day.  That’s it.  No painting.  No orders.  No nothing.  And I have to admit…it’s hard not wanting to multi-task and not prep something, make something, sketch something.  But instead, I’m relaxing, resting with David who worked last night, cuddling with the pups and giving my carpal tunnel a rest.

I’ve shut down my shops and will be preparing this weekend for a trip to our favorite spot on Earth, a place I’ve talked about numerous times – Crested Butte.  We’re renting a house so we could bring the dogs (which actually only cost us about $25 more/day then the lodge we usually stay out and now we don’t have to board the dogs and because it’s a house, we can cook and shave the cost of eating out on some of our meals, so it actually is cheaper in the long run!).  This is an annual photo trip for me and we just love riding our bikes around the main streets, shop the boutiques, eat at the local restaurants, sleep in, drink coffee from the local cafe and mostly take in the gorgeous, scenic mountain and foliage views.  Can’t wait.  It’s my favorite trip of the year and is our “retirement spot” one day if not a full-time residence sooner, we love it that much.

Here are a couple favorite pics from our past trips there, but I’ll be sure to share more in the upcoming week.

Hope you’re able to make time for a couch day now and then; if nothing else, hope you have a great weekend!

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Entrance to my new studio space...tons more space now!

Wow, I haven’t been this far away from my blog in over a year.

It’s been tough keeping quiet on all my latest projects, but it will all get shared eventually…promise!

It’s still busy, but wonderfully rhythmic; I am cooking every day, the house is cleaner than it has been in months, I revamped my studio space (as evidenced by the pics here) and I feel grounded.  I’m a strange bird…I know.  But that routine is nice when things have been so chaotic for months.

My spinner rack for cards (a $20 Craigslist find!) and my bookcase turned storage space for tools and completed items

I closed down my goodies shop a couple weeks ago.  It was a bittersweet step as it was my entrepreneurial baby but the reality is, I don’t have time to make gift tags, stickers and other eco-crafts right now.  As much as I love being a “jane-of-all-trades” it’s not practical.  In January, I decided to narrow my focus with my business considerably to be more efficient, to be more practical and to also spend less buying all different tools for all different things.  I found that it helped me considerably, though I was a little sad to let things go.  So this past month was an even greater leap to close down that side of my business altogether so I could focus my energy on my art.  I feel better and less stretched but it’s still a little sad.

An armoire turned more storage space for all my paper goods, mailers, cello bags, etc.; next to our oversized chair (aka the giant dog bed - I'm happy to have their company when I'm down in the studio)

With this transition in mind, I knew it was time to do an overhaul in my studio and let go of all those “saved-from-the-recycling-bin-and-trash” odds and ends in hopes of one day utilizing them and in the end, David hauled out 5 giant boxes full of items destined to return back to the recycling bin.  I didn’t realize my space was so big!  Don’t get me wrong, my business is still very eco-friendly and I try to keep it as green as possible, but at some point you have to filter what you keep and what you recycle to avoid looking like you belong on an episode of Hoarders, right?

There's Zoe hanging out right over that atrocious ink stain from my "printer ink accident" last year...remember that? ;)

I even created some space for David – hahaha; he’s so excited to have a little bit of office space again!

Picked up some vintage chippy paint windows at a flea market this summer and waiting to hang them up; for now, they're hanging out on the ledge! I cleared out the space so much, it's looking a lil' empty now but I rather that than its previous cluttered state!

I’ve created another 20 pieces this week…it’s so much fun and it feels great gaining more confidence.  Practice, practice, practice as they say…and I’m feeling like my art is developing more as a result.

And I still have a ton of my “older” stuff to list in my shop, including these originals I have yet to put in my shop (and I have just as many to list that aren’t included in this picture), so if you’ve been wanting to purchase an original, keep an eye out on my shop :)

Hope everything is going great on your side of the world!  Thanks for checking in on me *wink*

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Still here!

Hi everyone…hope your week is off to a good start.

Forgot to post a photo yesterday for photo Monday, but David lost his balance on a ladder this weekend while continuing the never-ending staining process and well, it’s been a busy couple of days.  Luckily he didn’t break anything, but is in a lot of pain (landed directly on his right heel) even with major pain meds and has been trying (unsuccessfully I might add) to stay off his feet.

I’ve been staying very busy with creating (as evidenced by the picture above) and my carpal tunnel has really ramped up, so I’ve been spending the past couple of days doing more behing-the-scenes work rather than creating to give my wrists a break.  We are like an old couple here!

I have also been extremely tired as Sierra, our oldest pup, was recently diagnosed with Cushings disease and one of her symptoms is drinking a lot and having to pee A LOT.  Like every night at 2 am and again at 6 am.  So I feel like a new mom, up every couple of hours doing feedings.  And last night, unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed in the 5 years we’ve been living in the mountains, the coyotes were howling non-stop for 6 hours straight (usually they howl in 2 minutes clips once or twice a night).  I don’t mind the sound so much and can sleep fine with it, but we have one scaredy-pug who was pacing and barking all night long at the coyotes, so I got very little sleep.  Good thing I work from home and can stay in my PJ’s, have crazy hair and can work at an erratic pace!

After spending the last two or three months cooking “convenience” foods, I’ve gone back to cooking from scratch and it feels really great to be eating more wholesome meals.  I’m hoping to get back to sharing with you all a weekly meal on Sundays like I was doing for some time.

So it continues to be busy, but it’s all good.  And the weather?  Oh, it’s been slippers and long sleeve shirt weather.  Divine.  Tomorrow it’s supposed to snow above 10,000 feet, which won’t reach us, but we should be able to see it happening from a distance.  Highs are only supposed to be 41 here.  LOVE.

Hope your week is off to a good start!

 

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The view out of our picture window yesterday morning. It was foggy and rainy the past couple of days, often didn't get out of the 40's (and the high mountains got snow!). It was perfect for donning flannel PJ's and slippers...my kind of weather!

So things are going to slow down on the blog front for the next couple of months.  Although the last couple weeks have been about mad creating and sharing all my new artwork, I’ll need to keep it under wraps going forward in an effort to create a fresh and new portfolio for my launch in January.  I appreciate you all understanding, but I will be creating new pieces specifically for my shop now and then, so I’ll be sure to share that with you when the time arises.

Although it’s been busy on the creation side of things, my days are taking on a nice, quiet and even calm routine.  Kind of the way it was when I first left my corporate job but hadn’t yet launched my shops.  I’m spending most of my time creating new material in a rhythmic way instead of switching up 10 different roles a day, from spending time trying to promote my shop, then listing new items, then making inventory, then photographing new items, then pursuing wholesale accounts, all mixed in with creating/packing orders.  It actually feels like things are getting more simple right now and I’m savoring that.  Who knows, I may even be making homemade bread again!

I got a nice surprise the other day in the mail when I received a complimentary copy of Cloth, Paper, Scissors – a popular mixed media magazine.  Several months back, I was contacted by them and asked if they could include one of my pieces, Gratitude Mosaic, in an upcoming edition, to which I gladly obliged.  It’s nothing major, just a small blip, but it’s the first time my mixed media artwork has been published and is still very exciting.

So while posts may slow down a bit here, I’m hoping that in place of new artwork, I’ll return to my roots and get back to blogging about simplicity efforts, homemade food, and eco-friendly tips.  I got away from that for a while, but I’m hoping this new routine and new focus will also help me get back to a simpler life.

Thank you all as I make this transition

xo

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Yep, still creating non-stop.  Here’s one of my fall girls that I created (have a couple more ideas to add to this series).

Here’s how a typical day looks as of late:

  • Get up around 7-8 am.  Get everyone and myself fed.
  • 8am-9am – respond to emails and Etsy convos, relist items, take care of admin. tasks, write material for this blog
  • 9am-11am – sketch out new pieces or touch up pieces left over from day before
  • 11am-4pm – work in my studio creating/packing up orders for my art and supplies shop
  • 4pm-6pm – drive to post office, make dinner, settle down a bit
  • 6pm – 10pm – paint, decoupage, sketch some more
  • 10pm – ? (sometimes up to 3am), research online, write ideas/inspiration in my journal, sometimes more sketching/painting (if I’m lucky and my mind isn’t churning too much with ideas, I might be able to get to sleep at 10, but it hasn’t happened often these past few weeks!)

And repeat!  I’m not complaining…it’s a very exciting time for me.  And although I’ll probably tire of this schedule eventually, it’s working for now while I build my portfolio and rework some older pieces.

Here’s another girl I completed this week…I’m calling her Intuitive Girl:

And that’s what’s shaking over here…how ’bout you?

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Hope you had a good Labor Day weekend.  I spent the weekend locked up in my home painting away!  (I’m thinking maybe I need to change up the name of my blog as painting and pursuing this licensing is the main direction of things right now!)

If you get tired of looking at new creations, then my apologies, because that’ll be my focus for the next couple of months as I have some very specific deadlines to meet.  But I promise to pepper in some regular life, travel, weather posts in between. ;)

So since I have “collections” in mind, here are 4 more coffee pieces I finished up this past weekend…

And the 2nd piece of my complicated coffee collection.

Have two more girls to show you tomorrow if you’re not too sick of looking at my artwork!

Covered in paint all day long…and loving it. :)

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So today I thought I’d share a little bit about my process since I’ve created more in the past month than I have in the past 3 or 4 months!

First, can you tell I’m craving cooler weather?  Ha!  Actually it was only 34 degrees when I woke at 7am (so I’m sure it got to below freezing last night) and today was spent in flannel PJ’s (oh happiness!), so I made a fall girl and also a winter girl.  And I’m also craving seasonal holidays, so I’m having fun creating lighter, more whimsical girls at the moment (but my serious toned, inspirational-themed girls aren’t going anywhere!).

I’ve shared this before (almost a year ago now) but most people are surprised to learn that my girls (or any pieces for that matter) are assembled piecemeal (in true collage form!) and my girls are colored in with pencils rather than paints (I have a couple that were painted but I can’t seem to get the shading right and they seem to look less warm than when I used colored pencils).

First I sketch out my girls on my sketch pad with a regular ol’ pencil.

Then I color in with my pencils.  This (combined with the initial sketch) takes me a good hour.  Luckily I can do this on the couch while watching TV. :)

Then I move onto my background which varies depending on what I’m feeling like doing, but combines decoupage (glue and paper), paint, inks, charcoal and oil pastels.  Lots of layering goes on in this stage.  Once it’s dry, I scan it (a new thing for me since I’ve gotten into licensing; my agent recommended I scan my images at different levels – called layered scans – in the event a manufacturer wants a background and not the girl or the girl without the background, etc.).

I embellish my girl with paint, markers, pencils, stamps or plain ol’ paper (here’s a cautionary tale if you’re a collage artist wanting to get into licensing – don’t use patterned or scrapbook paper!  While it may work for a small scale artist/crafter, you can’t use it for large scale reproduction; tough lesson for me to learn!).  I scan this girl too.

I then layer my girl on top of the background and do some touching up.  I then scan again before adding words in case a manufacturer wants to use my girl without words or with their own.

Finally I add some edging, some shadowing, add my words and signature stamp.  And yes I scan again!

This whole process takes about 3-5 hours.  Today I did two girls and together they took about 7 hours.  I also spent about 5 hours on shop related tasks/creating products/putting together orders, so it was about a 12 hour day.  Still beats a day at the office any day!

Hope you enjoyed this little peek into my artistic process.  Anything here surprise you?

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in the hood?  Nope.  The sticks?  Nah, doesn’t rhyme.

Let’s just say this mountain girl is much, much lighter today.  It’s so challenging when your head and heart are in conflict and you’re unsure what to do.  So that’s when you have to listen to your gut.  I did that, made a difficult decision and wouldn’t you know that in response, I got the best outcome possible.  Relief.

This morning I woke up to it being only 40 degrees outside and all day today, it’s been in the 60′s.  I’m a happy girl.

If you’ve been following me for a year or two, you know that fall is my favorite time of year.  It’s definitely the New Englander in me.  And I LOVE Halloween.  So I’ve created a bunch of Halloween girls (though only 2 complete at this time).

This is Jack 0′lantern girl who like me can hardly wait:

And this lovely lady who is ready for the masquerade:

I’ll have the originals, cards, magnets, etc. in my shop soon, but it’s hard to keep up as I’m creating way faster than I can get all the possible options up.  So if you ever see a piece that you like but it’s not listed in my shop, know that you can choose any of my “Pick any” options and when checking out, let me know which image/girl you’re interested in.  Don’t ever feel like you have to wait for me to list something.  I make everything myself in my studio so I can make anything as soon as I complete a piece.

I also just finished another coffee collection, have a heart collection in the works and more and more girls.  It’s mayhem over here but I’m really enjoying all this creating.

Tomorrow I’ll talk more about my creative process, from sketch to finished product and now the extra steps that needs to happen now that I’m licensing my art.  Lots of new stuff I’m learning (and wish I had known when I first started mixed media!).  It’s all good.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

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