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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Goings on…

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It’s been a month since my last post and figured it time to update folks on what’s been going on!

First, we saw our first signs of green here!

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I celebrated my 38th birthday over sushi, cupcakes and a wonderful evening at the cafe/bookstore with my lovely husband…

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The next day we went down to Denver to go to the zoo where we almost melted with the 90 degree weather (it was still snowing up at our house the week before, so we were NOT used to the heat!)

And then we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary at the end of the month where we were greeted with more snow on a quick weekend trip to Breckenridge (this snow-loving bird was frankly OVER it!)

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Since Breckenridge is only a little over an hour away, we typically go for day trips, but decided to go for a couple days so we could spend some time enjoying the restaurants and still bring our pups with us.

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Bum news is that I threw my back out on the first morning there trying to wrangle an escapee pug back into our hotel room and well…our trip kind of went bust.  However, sitting was comfortable so we did driving tours of the area since I couldn’t walk much (or even stand upright!) and were able to see more of the mountain area surrounding the quaint main street of this ski town.

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Our anniversary dinner was replaced by room service where I could be in the comfort of PJs and our hotel room and the next day we left early and took the scenic drive back home, taking Loveland Pass and passing a still-operating ski resort (yes, this was June 1st!).

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Aside from that, we’ve been focused on house projects again, including having 21 tons of rock delivered to our house; after a year of flip-flopping on whether or not to list our house for sale, we finally decided to give it a go and can no longer use our “mountain landscaping” excuse if we are to create curb appeal!

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Unfortunately, I’ve been on hold with these projects all week while I wait for my back to heal (I can stand now thanks to a little help from the chiropractor!).

I haven’t painted in weeks and this is what my art table looks like since I last created…crowded!  I have TONS of ideas and themes I want to explore, I just have been so busy with my supplies shop during the day (it’s gone seriously gang-buster lately and while I’m grateful to have steady business/income, it’s definitely cramped my creative time) and then house projects in the evening, well…it just has to be put on hold for a little bit longer.

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Though I haven’t created anything new in a while, I do have some material that I created a little while ago that I haven’t shared, so here’s a peek into some of this new material using real vintage ephemera (not photocopies).

Silhouettes

Shore beckons

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Can you tell I’m getting a bit homesick for the ocean?

We also had some bad news with one of our pups, Peanut, who had surgery this week to remove a suspicious mass on her leg.  It’s being sent to a lab to determine if it’s malignant or benign so we’re hoping for the best.  If you’ve been a follower of this blog, you know that we had to put our oldest pup down in January, so we’re really hoping and praying that all is well with our sweet girl.  Appreciate you sending out good vibes for her as well!

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Thanks all…hope you’re having a good start to the month!

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Don’t forget to make time for some fun!

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snowy spring

Yep.  Stillll snowing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of snow and cold.  But it’s May and I’m frankly sick of it.  I crave the birds singing, bright green aspen trees, enjoying coffee on my front deck with the rising sun and having picnics on the back deck under the umbrella.  And I’m green with envy seeing everyone’s green environments…plush grass, tulip-strewn flower beds and flowering trees.

We still have gray twigs, yellow grass and it’s been this funky rain/snow mix all week.

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On the bright side, my ginormous easel arrived (in the photo, it’s standing a little over 6′ tall and can accommodate canvases up to 8 feet!!).  Totally will come in handy as I’m moving to bigger canvases and trying to paint a 36 x 48 while laying flat on a table just doesn’t work so well.  The 3×4 piece in there now is one I’m making for our home.  Typically I create sporadically and with no vision, but this one I have a specific theme/message/vision and can’t wait to finish it.

Guess I’ll use the cold weather as an excuse to get more pieces done and to cuddle under the covers and get all cozy like this little girl…

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So go ahead and tell me how green it is by you and I’ll be here crying into my mittens.  ;)

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inspirational abstract art

So a curious thing happened.  I wrote my last blog post a couple months ago, stating that I was done with blogging and signing off.  Moreover, instead of leaving my blog up for others to refer back to, I was going to take it off-line completely by setting it to private.  At the time, I was feeling burned out, overexposed and raw from a particular experience that led to a strong desire for anonymity and quietude.  I also felt a need to calm down my growing insecurity (it comes in waves) and I wanted to swear off all social media.  So I unplugged.

No blogging of my own.

No visiting other’s blogs.

No Twitter.

No Pinterest.

No Facebook (I deactivated both my personal and fan page).

I only spent time online to run my shops on Etsy and found that I had a good 2-3 extra hours a day freed up.  Yes, that’s a lot of extra time (but I’m willing to bet that if most of you pulled the plug on all social media, you’d be amazed at how much more time you’d have in a day!).

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I called, emailed or sent cards to family and friends close to me (I found that most of my FB “friends” didn’t even notice I was gone, so why was I spending so much time focused on them before?).  I spent time soaking the beautiful Colorado sun (it may still be really cold but it’s sunny nearly every day here and the couch that basks in the late afternoon sun cures any winter blues).  I worked out for the first time in a looooong time (ow, sore!).  I watched a lot of movies with David.  I no longer spent the evenings with laptop in hand zoning out until bed wondering where all the time went.   I spent more time loving on my husband and pups.  I spent time creating from the heart and referred back to journals instead of looking online for inspiration.  I spent time quieting my anxious soul and stopped worrying about what everyone else was doing and what everyone thought of me as a person and artist.

No more obnoxious status updates.

No more drama.

No more comparing to other’s success.

No more head games or emotional tug-a-war.

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And you know what?  A beautiful thing happened…

I found peace.

I found happiness.

I found my center.

And the craziest, most unexpected thing of all?  I feel less lonely and isolated.  I no longer feel like the person on the outside looking in.  I’m not hearing about all the get-together’s I’m missing out on, all the social activities people are engaging in, all the personal connections that I don’t have in my life.  And in this regard, ignorance has been bliss.  My self-esteem has been restored and I just don’t feel bad about myself anymore (that folks, was worth it alone to leap off the social media cliff!).  I did what I set out to do for my New Year’s resolution (decluttering all areas of my life) and can’t remember the last time I felt so joyful.  I’ve decluttered my physical environment, decluttered my business and decluttered my personal life (which is why I’m still not on Facebook!).

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But after my 2 month “sabbatical”, I’m finding a whisper tugging at my heart and that is blogging.  I miss writing and I miss sharing with you all.  I swore I wouldn’t allow myself to share my life in such a personal way again on a blog, which is a wide-open public forum.  But the reality is, I strive to have a candid, honest view on life.  One that is positive and upbeat but isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, one that shares highs and lows but always gets back up and chugging along.  A glass half-full approach, but also one that is realistic.  And sure, the candor (and being honest about disappointments in life) opens up my vulnerabilities to the world, but isn’t that also how we grow?

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And so I will approach social media again (or at the very least, blogging) with baby steps.  Although I jumped all out in a flash, I’m not about to jump back in the same fashion.  I want to share and reconnect, but at a pace that is comfortable and doesn’t take away all the time (and perspective) that I’ve gained over the past few months.  If you’ve ever blogged regularly, you know it’s a big commitment, so I’m trying to listen to my heart more and do what feels right (which may mean a pace that is more like every other week rather than every other day).

Care to continue the journey with me?

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But meantime, I’ve enjoyed playing with some of my old photos, textures and quotes…which are kind of like mini workouts to painting marathons.

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I’m going through that introspective phase that typically happens 2 or 3 times a year for me (I swear, I’m not trying to play the dramatic artist card here!)…

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Trying to figure where I want to focus my energy and where I want to let things go…

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What people I want to focus on and what people I need to let go…

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And trying to stay away from FB, blogs and the internet save for what’s necessary for my work because it’s hard not to compare yourself to others (especially those that are very successful and not feel bad about where you are).

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So meantime, I’m sorting through my feelings through digital art (even mounted this guy on a 12×12 piece of wood).  But I can hear the decoupage calling…

It won’t be long.

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While most people spend their Christmas among crazy chaos and lots of people, we go the opposite route.  Part of it is that it’s not feasible to go back home again to CT, we both have VERY small families and my parents go to Florida while my sister stays in CT and celebrates with her husband’s side of the family.  So it’s just us and the pups.  Staying at home sometimes makes me a little sad and so this year with David off from work, we decided to go away for Christmas.  It was also a make-up trip from our 10 year wedding anniversary in May (a trip that we kept having to reschedule) so it had been a full year and a half since David and I vacationed and very much needed.

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DSC_0641We chose to go to a familiar, quiet place where we know our dogs are welcome and we could cozy up near a fireplace: the Estes Park YMCA at Rocky Mountain National Park.  Every year we go we are amazed at how big this complex is getting; it’s not your typical camp – it’s a booming conference center with hundreds of cabins and lodging rooms and has a skating rink, sled runs, horse stables, indoor swimming and tons of activities.  But even with all the options, we chose to hold up in our cabin and celebrate the holidays quietly…playing rounds of Monopoly, Words with Friends and Uno…reading books aloud to each other…challenging our brains with puzzle books and taking lots of frigid walks with our pups (some days the windchill was below zero!).

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We spent some time in town as well on the charming main street visiting little shops, stopping at our favorite independent coffee shop and grabbing some local food.  And of course there is Rocky Mountain National Park (though most of it is closed, the couple miles that you can go in are still beautiful).  Good all around.  Very low key, very relaxing (when our anxious pups weren’t misbehaving), very much our style.

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And while I often wish I had this big gregarious family to go home to for the holidays, complete with cousins, aunts, uncles, lots of siblings and nieces and nephews and all the nostalgic visions that the holiday movies portray, the reality is that neither of us have that, so we have to make our own holiday tradition.  So tranquil holidays come in as a great second choice.

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Whether yours were crazy or calm, hope your holidays were enjoyable. ♥

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Downtime

Hi all…spending time with my sister and nieces for Thanksgiving, so I’m doing all the typical running around and engaging in all the fun activities that we can fit in during my short week here, so pardon the downtime on my blog.  But I have a post for Thanksgiving Day so please come back to see my announcement!

Have a great week everyone ♥

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Oh dear, I’m long overdue for a blog post.  Typically when I’m quiet I’m processing something, sometimes I’m trying to make a decision or sometimes it’s because I’m feeling a little down and my typical M.O. is to withdraw.

This time I’ve been quiet because I didn’t have much to say/report and orders have picked up quite a bit after a very long, dry October, so it’s all good over here!

Wild grasses picked from the yard

Just yesterday I took down my Halloween decorations (not because I was sad to, but because I was either too tired at end of day or too lazy to do anything about it!).  Unfortunately, we now have a very cluttered dining room/great room since we brought back everything from my booth after I was told to leave at the end of October (but I did learn I was one of several and there’s all sorts of drama going on there, so I am actually thrilled to be outta there!).

Remember these? I sold a few in my booth and the rest came home with me and will be added to my art shop soon.

I was getting sick of looking at the mess, so I started to go through it and was able to use items into my Harvest themed decorations and I “shopped” my house for the rest.

This is actually our kitchen scale plus some old, discarded library books that without the bindings give a vintage feel to them; add some ribbon stash from a previous gift or order and voila, instant display!

There were a couple sweet items I picked up from other artisans on Etsy, like this cute recycled fabric garland…

You can find this garland at MollyauContraire (click image)

And this adorable downloadable subway art print (just print the emailed file at home and frame; no shipping needed!)…

Downloadable art print from BitsyCreations (click image)

Ivory silk flowers like these peonies work great in the summer, fall and winter…just a simple classic look that works for year round decor…

Paper wreaths can also be a super cheap yet lovely way to add charm…

I’m in a Harvest sate of mind…

 

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Today, David and I made the trek down to Denver to join a friend for a fun Halloween festivity – the 7th annual Zombie Crawl.  It was a first for all three of us, but it was so much fun and my cheeks hurt from laughing so hard.  It was supposed to be a world record breaker if 2,000 people came in costume…it was estimated that close to 10,000 showed up!

Sure, some took their costumes very seriously…

Some were silly…

Others were peculiar…

We loved seeing young and old alike…

Lots of dogs…

 

And lots of zombie brides in all forms…

It was a fun day for all…muwahahah…

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Studio tour

Because I’m trying to clear out every nook and cranny in the house trying to find every last project or item that could make it into my booth before the end of the month, I decided to do a major overhaul to my studio space.  It was soul cleansing I tell ya!  I know others like to see artist’s studios, so I’m sharing here…

Remember that letter “H” I was missing from my alphabet typography months ago?  Found it :)

This is where I spend the majority of my work week.  I usually only paint once a week and it’s upstairs on our dining room table where I’m surrounded by light.  The rest of the week I’m in production/manufacturing/administrative mode, so this is where I accomplish it all, in our downstairs walk-out basement.

I used to have my unpurchased artwork on the walls, then I took them down, then I decided to rehang some of my favorites along with artwork of some of my favorite artists, like Danita, Mae Chevrette and photographer Nichole Robertson.  I also decided to hang up some vintage receipts and postcards because while it’s nice to keep them in a protective sleeve, I love them for their old-world beauty so I decided to display them.

 

This is an old make-up case that a friend who’s a skincare rep gave me.  Works great for holding my labels.  Yay for recycling!

Some projects in the works…

My shipping area (along with the row of boxes under my desk and in the spare room closet!) as well as my large format printer.

Where I keep finished pieces as well as made-up products (i.e. cards, bookmarks, ACEO’s) and supplies.

Here’s my other supply cabinet, mostly for my supplies shop, but also for use in my other shops.  The chair in the corner is for when David comes down to join me but is mostly where the pups hang out.

And lastly this is my ink area…yes, I need an ink area because my printer uses 8 cartridges at a time and I go through about 20 a month.  Yep, that’s about $200-$300 in ink every month, but it’s the bulk of what I do – print artwork.  And yes I’ve looked at eco-friendly refills but want to be able to assure my customers that the ink won’t fade and since selling art merchandise is primarily what I do, I have to spring for the high quality stuff.  It’s a necessary evil.

And that’s a wrap!  Thanks for taking the quick tour with me.  Let me know if I can answer any questions!

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Happy day!

This is the view out my side window at 8:30 this morning…and only 27 degrees.  Brrrr.

Flannel PJ’s?  Check.  Hot Coffee?  Check.  Doing work on the laptop while under the down comforter.  Check, check, check.

I’m a lucky girl!

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