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Archive for 'arts ‘n’ crafts'

Today’s Tarot + Open Contests Ending Soon!
Sunday, November 27th, 2022

I’ve been pulling cards on Sundays to try to make it part of my planning process. Every Sunday, I update my work and personal plans to ensure I record what I accomplished and didn’t, then I turn my sights on the coming week. It’s not that I “believe” in the tarot, but because it centers me and reminds me of aspects of my life I wouldn’t otherwise consider when I set my plans. So, onto this week’s card…

Pentacles again. Hmmm. Well, first, I’ll study the art on the card. We have Daedalus, again, holding the pentacles close to his chest, like he won’t share them. Remember, he’s the father of Icarus. He’s also a skilled craftsman. Here, he’s observing his nephew Thalos as young Thalos crafts a gold bracelet. See that side-eye he’s giving the kid? He’s jealous of his skill and worried that he’ll surpass him. The child is engrossed in what he’s doing, unaware of Daedalus’s concern.

What does that mean for me? I’m not sure. I’m not here worried about another person surpassing me in skill. I write and I edit for other authors. I wish everyone well.  Truly. I don’t obsess over stats or even check mine often. A sin, I know, when writing is my business. I’m okay letting go of the worry of whether or not I write a bestseller. So, what else could this mean for me? I turn to the book…

It says that the card represents my holding too tightly to my possessions or things that represent my personal value. What could that be? Yes, I’m acquisitive, meaning I collect things. They’re things that bring me pleasure whether they hold value or not. Am I getting a little overwhelmed by my things? Yes. Simply put, I need to figure out what I want to keep and what I should let go of. In the near term, could this mean that I need to price my items for the coming sale so low that I can offload my inventory? Hmmm. Or does it mean I need to do some future planning for a huge clearing out of my spaces? Selling, tossing, giving away things? I’ll keep that in mind. I can’t do much about it until after next Saturday because I’m too busy trying to create inventory for the sale. I’ll put “weaning the horde” on my December To Do list.

In the meantime, I’m creating “stuff.” Here’s another Christmas card I painted…

Can you think of things I should offer to readers here in the future to help myself empty my bins and shelves?

Open Contests

  1. My New Favorite Thing… (Contest)This one ends soon! Win an Amazon gift card!
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  3. Tell me a story… (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
My New Favorite Thing… (Contest)
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022

My art room (I’m not yet ready to call it a studio, because artists have studios, and I don’t feel like one quite yet!) is a work in progress. It’s very utilitarian—industrial tile on the floor, tables and work benches on each wall, a large table in the center, which is my workspace. When my mother, who was a true artist, passed, I inherited her multitudinous art supplies. When I tried to cram them into my room with everything I’d already accumulated, I couldn’t walk around the tables without standing sideways because there was so much “stuff.” It took a super-human effort, and the help of my daughter, to get it pared down so I had floor space. I’m not kidding. I could’ve been on the hoarders TV show. Over the nearly two years since then, I’ve donated and tossed items. I’ve also looked for good storage solutions. I’m making great progress, but until recently, working on my central art table was hard because even though it’s a banquet-sized table, it was covered with the art supplies I use most. I needed a solution so I could clear the table before considering working on larger pieces.

After scouring Pinterest and other artist’s organizational tips, I found this:

It’s an IKEA Raskog rolling cart. If you go onto Amazon they’re around $100. When I went straight to the IKEA site, I found it for just $35 plus $10 for shipping. And luckily, it is one of the items they do ship! When it arrived, my SIL assembled it—it’s super easy to assemble by the way—and I began to offload my many cups and bowls of supplies onto the cart. I’m giddy over how much space I have (I’m still clearing the table, so I’ll take a picture of the finished table another day.

If you’re wondering about what that pile of stuff to the upper right of the photo is, it’s tea bags I’m drying that I’ll cut open and empty, and then paint on. I know. My daughter thinks it’s super weird, but tea bag art is awesome for collaging. That wire thing tucked in the near corner of the top rack is a large, vintage flower “frog”—an Ebay find I thought would be perfect to gather all the scissors into one place. I need more scissors!

But look at this! Here are views of the second rack:

See that wooden compartmented box? It’s a $8 flea market find and fits perfectly! I know, me and my flea marketing… And there’s a little bit of space left to fill. 🙂

Here’s the bottom shelf:

Yes, I should find some containers that take up a bit less space to maximize what space I have in the cart, but all that crap was on top of my table, and now it’s not. I can roll that sucker next to my chair when I’m working and have everything I use the most right there.

I’m beyond thrilled.

My daughter loves the cart, too. She wants one for her bathroom to hold her multitudinous beauty supplies. I bought her a white one, and it’s coming on Wednesday.

So, I shared. Now, I’d love to hear about any organizational items you use or want, or tips for how to organize smarter. Include links if you can. One commenter will receive a $5 Amazon gift card!

Trying new things… (Contest)
Friday, October 21st, 2022

UPDATE: The winner of the Amazon gift card is…Amy Fendley!

So, first—that’s a horribly unflattering picture. 🙂

Had to get that out of the way. We dressed for messy fun, and it was cold outside, so…layers!

What is this? A big painty mess! The local art guild that I’m a part of held an acrylic paint pour. Most of us had never tried it. Mine turned out an awful mess, but I had a blast and learned something new.

When I first started writing and publishing, I tried all kinds of genres. Over time, I’ve found my groove, but I had to experiment a lot. Now, that I’m there, I’m just a little bored with the entire process.

Thank goodness for art! I’m obsessed learning new media, playing with color, making messes… All of it is a learning journey. Is paint pouring for me? Probably not, but it did teach me how fluid acrylic paint can act, and I have some ideas for “mini-pours” that might be something I could work into collaging or pendants… See? My mind won’t stop. And that’s a good thing.

Anything that keeps us excited and engaged is good—especially as we grow older. It really does keep us young.

So, my question to you is, do you have anything new you’re trying or want to try? Have you taken steps to DO IT?
Comment below for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Pictures from the Art Festival!
Monday, September 26th, 2022

Friday and Saturday, I was part of the local art festival! The city board did well with the setup. The tents were lovely and provided shade. They had portable airconditioners pointed down the rows of tents to try to offset the heat. But the heat… It was killer this weekend. 88 degrees on Friday. 97 on Saturday. And we were there from 10:30 to 7:00 both days. I wilted.

Can you see how flushed I was? Both nights, I came home, showered in cold water, drank a sh*t-ton of water (see the bottles next to me?), and I was in pretty good shape compared to some of the more elderly artists who had to close early or limit their hours to prevent heat stroke. I guess all those years in the Texas Army National Guard trained me how to survive—don’t move around too much, keep out of the sun, and drink, drink, drink.

There were so many intrepid art enthusiasts who came. Maybe they were there for the live graffiti artist painting a mural, or staying for the food trucks and live bands, but they strolled through the tents. I can’t imagine how much more foot traffic we might have had if the festival had been held in October. But still, it was fun. And something to trade “war stories” about. 🙂

My dd was there, popping in, or having one of the girls keep me company so they could run for iced drinks or food, or just to make sure I wasn’t fainting from the heat. LOL

She was also responsible for setting me up, bringing in some fall decor to spruce up my tent.

My favorite piece was the first sold.

The postcards and bookmarks were very popular.

I sold those blue pumpkin earrings very quickly, too. See the wooden box? I found it at a flea market. It was yellow and very dirty. My dd painted and distressed it, then used chalk paint on the front so we could use chalk to write in our pricing on the little items. Cool, right?

And paintings were sold. I still have many, many items to bring to December’s craft fair and to post on Etsy. I have to get photos ready and then open up my Etsy shop. I made a ton of bookmarks and still have some left, so I will be thinking about how to gift them away… (Psst… Susan…)

But I still “feel” like a real artist. I’m glad I did it, but next year, if they schedule it for September again, I might not be there. Unless the forecast is for actual fall weather.

My Sunday
Sunday, September 18th, 2022

Psst! Be sure to check out yesterday’s post!
There are 8 open contests listed there that you can still enter to win!

I’m trying to keep focused on my work schedule, but it’s really hard!

I am participating in the Arkadelphia Festival of the Arts this coming Friday and Saturday! I’m super excited even though temperatures are expected to soar to 90 degrees!!! I’ll be in a tent, so in the shade, and I’ll have a cooler of water handy, but still…

If anyone happens to be in the area, be sure to stop in and say hi!

In the meantime, my lovely dd is helping me get ready. She’s been framing paintings and packing tubs with artwork. I’d be lost without her because she’s so dang organized.

I’m still finishing up some pieces for sale. Easy, fast-drying things, like this ceramic tile I used alcohol ink to paint. I have half a dozen tiles I can whip up pretty quickly and seal before the weekend.

My daughter started packaging some painted earrings I already had and decided I didn’t have enough of them. So, today, I’m painting some whimsical things like these pumpkin earrings. She’s finishing them for me (attaching O-rings and earring wires and packaging them) so all I have to do is paint. I’ll do some floral ones and abstract ones, seal them and be done!

I’ll be writing and editing all week and painting in my spare time. So, up to my eyeballs. As usual. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! ~DD

Just a quick fly by and share…
Sunday, August 14th, 2022

Of course, I was working on other writers’ projects yesterday. Then my dd, SIL, and the 18-year-old went to a concert in Hot Springs, which left me with the little ones (9 & 13—so technically, not that little 🙂 ) to babysit. Because I would be away from my computer, I set up at the kitchen table to paint. It’s soooo relaxing, and I don’t get to do it often enough. I have an art show to prepare for that happens in September, so I guess this is really “work” but it sure didn’t feel like it.

This one is 6×9. Smallish. (My preferred size actually, because I can complete one quickly.) I played with the colors. Don’t you love that brown at the bottom? The color I mixed granulated as it dried. I tried to make the pot look like a pinch pot—you know, with the fingerprints showing on the side. Not sure that came across. Maybe it just looks blotchy. LOL

Then I painted a quick postcard with some shiny peach mixed with red paint for the flowers. My favorite part is the pot. I dotted the reddish peach on the side of the vase as the shadowed part. The colors are ones I love.

Anyways, you see what I do when I’m not writing or editing. I think I’ll be doing more of it. Practice makes, if not perfect, better.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Summertime craft suggestions, anyone? (Contest)
Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

UPDATE: The winner is…Brenda A!

This summer, we’ll have four kids underfoot. The two older ones have part-time jobs and driver’s licenses, so I’m not so worried about keeping them occupied. The 13-year-old and 8-year-old will present tougher challenges. I was thinking of maybe trying to get them excited about some crafty projects. Maybe tackle one every couple of weeks. I’d love to pass along my “craft bug” to someone!

Something my dd and I did a few years ago was make soap. We tried just one recipe, and it actually turned out very, very nice! It was an oatmeal-honey-goat’s milk recipe, and we added some essential oils for scent. The project didn’t take more than an hour to put everything together, and after we stuck it in the fridge while it hardened, we had lovely bars of soap!

This was us putting together our ingredients before sticking the measuring cup in the microwave to melt the mixture.

We found some cheap, basic molds on Amazon. All we did after stirring our hot, melted mix was pour it into the mold.

And we had pretty, nicely scented, smooth-as-butter soap!

So, I’m going to hunt for my old molds and purchase ingredients to be ready!

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, share your ideas for crafty summertime activities!