Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Making Space

Been crazy busy around here...How about you?

My Man's Mom was very ill and he was off tending to her. She is on the mend, but far from out of the woods.  Prayers for her if you please.  My middle son flew the coop...again.  I gained a room...again.
We have some other, more personal things we are working through as well.  Life is full of mixed blessings, isn't it?

Last year, I taught a lot and did few shows, this year, doing the opposite.  I have signed up for 6 shows, with apps pending on 3 more. Teaching only 3 classes this summer. Plus custom orders are consistently coming in...THANK YOU!!!!

Since this means I have literally hundreds of pieces to make...AND store until each prospective show.  It was time to expand the studio space. I've created three specifically dedicated spaces for my work. (having a kid fly the coop has its upside) First, the studio you walk into as soon as out enter my house.  It is now dedicated to painting and sculpting...plus computer and business paperwork. 

I dig my giant easels covered in old paint I scored at a Habitat for Humanity Restore.

My son and I moved furniture quite literally ALL day last Friday.  Big heavy pieces.  Pretty much shifted three rooms. Sheesh, was I worn out and irritated an old wrist injury.  My tenacity pushed through and I worked my butt off all weekend, getting things shifted from one place to the other. Offloaded things on Craigslist, thrift store donation pile, vintage treasure pile to sell to antique dealers...on and on.  Advil was my BEST friend on Saturday.

Happily transformed one bedroom...Now solely for sewing and doll assemblage.

This room is FILLED with loving memories as well.  Pulling it together brought out many memories of my childhood and I shed some tears in the process.  Much of my childhood, my Mom was single parent.  It was tough on her, but she did it.  My father was never around, I lost one grandfather when I was only 8 and my other grandfather was just never the warm fuzzy type.  I was however surrounded by the LOVE of the women in my family.  Despite my father's absence, my mom maintained that we should still have relationships with his parents.  My paternal grandmother I affectionately called Dolly.  Ironically, it was her two composition dolls that inspired my working with old dolls. The lamb quilt was mine from infancy.  Made my a family friend of my Dolly.   Being the only granddaughter for Dolly, she also left me her Wedding dress. I use to put it on as a young girl and prance around in it. I Lost my Dolly to Lung cancer when I was 17. I was devastated. For years, I have kept the quilt and wedding dress in the same storage bag, now they proudly grace my Doll room.

My late husband and I made the Moon cradle for our daughter before she was born. It's now doll storage! 

Scored this craft table with baskets for 20 bucks on craigslist. I love craigslist.

My Maternal grandmother I call Nana.  We are blessed to still have her with us. I spent a couple weeks each summer at each of my grandmother's homes.  Nana worked full time, but I got to go to work with her on Thursdays, as her office was open half day and she mostly did paperwork.  I LOVED going with her on those days.  It meant helping with the filing, helping my great aunt (who also worked there) count pills in the back office (it was a medical practice).  Then Nana always took me out to lunch at her regular coffee shop and we would go shopping.  Nana was always my greatest cheerleader, we sang songs together, did crafts and she always had special treats at her house for my brother and I. She decorated beautiful cakes and every birthday growing up, she made my cake!   Both my grandmothers, my Aunt Nancy and my Mom were highly creative women, literally doing everything from decorating cakes, bead/needlework, sewing, crocheting, gardening, ceramics, all kinds of arts and crafts.  I was always encouraged to dream and create, each of these women giving me lessons, tools and extra scraps & jewelry baubles of this and that to use.  None of them made their livings at art/craft. But SO much of what I do today,  can be attributed to each one of them encouraging my imagination growing up.  This room is dedicated to them. Though it was very painful to grow up without a Father, I cannot imagine life without the strong, independent women who influenced me and still do.

The Teddy Bear was my Mother's as a child.  As were all the little dollies in the basket. The yo-yo clown made by a patient, gifted to me by my Nana.

The Fairy was gifted to me by my Nana, I LOVE her!!!

The shoes were my eldest son, Brandon's. 

These were Dolly's Dolls, she called them Big Sister and Little Sister. I had them restored by a doll hospital.  Still in their original clothes from the 1930's. 

My garage is dedicated to storing art for upcoming shows, for soldering and doing wood/plaster work.  Life is GOOD and I am grateful.  Never underestimate the power you have at forming lives, encouraging your children, the young people that cross our paths and even our peers/friends.  NEVER lose sight of your dreams and always strive to be the BEST version of YOU that you can be.  Have a beautiful day!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Glitterfest recap

Glitterfest was this past Saturday. It was an amazing day for me! My best in sales and I was really happy with the work I produced and beyond happy/thankful it resonated with my customers. Here are two shots of my table, before and after. 


I had several out of town clients who wanted some pieces before the show, but I couldn't sell them, beforehand. So as promised, I am listing the pieces that are left in my etsy shop. For the paintings, custom orders are welcome! 

Blooming Cache Heads, I have 5 left. 

These are both functional and fun, the vintage flowers used on them are pretty rad!

Cruise in over to my etsy shop to see what other goodies I have left. 

Posting my Sculpted Puppet Girl necklaces next. 

Thank you so much my friends and customers for your loving support of my work. 


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bees, Blind Melon and Aladdin

Many people ask about my creative process. Comments like, "where do you get your ideas from" or, "I wish I could see how your brain works". Here is the story of how, "Bee Yourself" came to be.

I have long held a fascination and respect for bees and I gratefully consume a teaspoon of their gorgeous honey each and every day. 

About 22 years ago, my son Christian was obsessed with Disney's Aladdin. Having watched it a hundred times with him, my favorite character was of course, Genie, played by Robin Williams. My favorite scene was when Aladdin was pretending to be a prince to woo Jasmin. Genie, trying to keep Aladdin honest, transforms into a bee and buzzes Aladdin, telling him. "Remember, beeeee yourself". When Christian received an Aladdin toy set, it had The Genie Bee in the set. Christian, knowing how much I loved that part of the movie, so sweetly gifted me the toy. For 22 years Bee Genie  has been in my studio with me. Always where I can see him. 

I also constantly wore a Winnie the Pooh baseball cap that had Winnie, with bumble bees buzzing around him and the words "bee yourself" embroidered on it. I miss that hat!

Many years later, enter my boyfriend, Rob. We've now been together 9 years. About 1 year into our relationship, he says to me, "you know who you remind me of? The little girl in the No Rain video by Blind Melon. It is you and your story". When I watched it, I remembered seeing it before and I laughed at how accurately he read me. I always felt like an odd ball growing up. I wasn't a redhead or wore glasses, but was taunted for my super white freckled skin, big nose, my very Un-athletic non abilities, for my big nose, how I dressed, my name and a few very painful times when the cute boy I liked found out I liked him...Then he and his friends made fun of me for it.  Sad how mean kids and even insensitive adults can be to a child's developing self esteem.

Here is the video if you don't know it.  I love it! I'm sure many of you can relate. 

In the past 7 years I have made over 200 altered dolls, so many many cool vintage dolls have passed through my hands. But one doll in particular, I could never use or sell. She came to me with just her head, arms and torso attached together. I adored her sweet face and red braided pigtails. There has always been "something" about her. She has sat on my shelf with a wreath of flowers on her head, wearing little round doll glasses...waiting for inspiration.

A few weeks back, I found this really cool bee skep shaped wire shelf at Michaels. Initially I didn't buy it. But it kept taunting me in the back of my head, so yesterday I used my 40% coupon and bought it. As I walked to my car, like a gust of wind to the face, the idea hit me...my red headed doll!!! Bingo! Finally she will be put to the perfect use!

To say I was obsessed last night working in her, was an understatement. I had to wait until his morning for paper clay to dry befor I could assemble her.  So here she is...

I cut her wings from some scrap metal I had, made paper clay hearts for her antennae, uses washi tape to make the black stripes on her bodice and vintage tuille for her gathered tutu. Added vintage beaded flowers to the shelf. The cool wreath is some vintage hair thingy that expands and contracts, had it forever too! 

Thank you for reading my very long blog post and there you go...a glimpse into what can be a creative process that takes years to come to fruition. 

Remember....beeeee yourself! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Vegetarian protein bars

In an effort to support my daughter wanting to be a full vegetarian and myself a casual one...and trying to find healthier (more affordable) homemade alternatives to store bought nutrition bars. I found this recipe online and naturally tweaked it. It did not take the time to do the math and calculate nutrition facts, but will with my next batch since they Turned out amazing! So here is what I used. 

1/2 cup gluten free oats
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup Cooke tri-color quinoa (cooked)
1/2 cup q'ia superfood blend of hemp, chia, buckwheat with cranberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla 

First, I soaked the oats in the yogurt in a bowl covered in plastic wrap in the counter overnight. Cooked the quinoa. Mixed it all together and formed bars on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pressed a few almonds into the top of bars. Baked for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Nice evenly golden color. So initially I made 9 bars, but now that I see how they rose and spread, next time I will strech them to 12 bars. Next time also, I will calculate nutrition info. 

Easy recipe to alter too, if you want different dry ingredients or vegan. 


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Belated Happy New Year

I hope this finds each of you into 2015 happy, healthy and rested. After the wild month December is, January's arrival is always welcome to me.

Have any of you come up with a word for your year? If you have, please share it, would love to hear how others are focusing on 2015.   Speaking of focusing...after MUCH internal debate....FOCUS is my word for this year.   Let year, I don't even remember if I chose a word and I certainly didn't stick to it if I did.

But so far, I am. Hey now, yes it is only 20 days or so into the new year and all of my resolutions are still sticking! Yay me! 

Any who, been listening and reading some fantastic creative business advice from many sources to aid me in this newfound or rediscovered? "Focus". I am so thankful for the free resources that come in the email from sites such as Lila Rogers, Tara Gentile, Thriving Artists, Corey Huff, Lesley Riley, Meg Auman, Handmadeology, etc. taking what I can use and applying it big time to my business. 

Getting ready for Glitterfest on February 28th and I cannot wait to share with you my class of Art is You, in Petaluma end of April. So honored and excited to teach with such esteemed artists at that venue. February 1st I can share. Can't wait! Hope some of you can make it to the best art retreat around. 

Here is a bit of what I did today for my workspace. streamlined = more focus. I'm not a huge messy artist. It freaks me out when things get in too much disarray.

Brought in a light from the garage so when it is dark outside and I lose natural light, I'm not straining because the other light source is behind me. This is my main workable. Just the corner of my studio. 

Rearranged the paint in my carts for easier access.

Picked up this fabulous wood garden carrier yesterday and thought, "hey, supply caddy, yes!"

My "bright idea" baby is happy here to helping me light my way. 

Made at least a hundred of these tray display pieces over the years and kept none...so, made this one today for my studio and I love it! 

Painted this parasol this week. Having a parasol painting class in my studio next Saturday and can't wait.  The theme for this parasol stems from a lot of my introspection I've been doing business wise. In focusing, I've had to try to harness my creative schizophrenia. In doing so, it's made me think of what I love more than anything...COLOR.  Rich, vibrant, happy, glorious color...(and flowers, and dolls, and painting, and sculpting). See what I mean? Maybe my word of the year should be harness...or rein.  Lol. 

happy new year and do share what you have been up to and what your word of the year is, if you have one and want to! 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Parasol painting class

First class of the year, ladies!
Let's paint a parasol!

Last year I did several parasols for customers and Art is You retreats. Sooo many requests have come in from my local students to offer this as a class!

No painting experience required. I will guide you!   Class will be Saturday, January 24th from 10-3. Class is $75. Light lunch included. Minimal supply list.
Location, My studio.  Email me to sign up! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Homeless Man

Homeless man on my street
digs through recycle bins

peering from my window
he puts a magazine gently in his pocket

perhaps his only entertainment

He moves onto the next bin

I scurry to find a recyclable to offer
only one water bottle
half empty
half full?

pour part on two plants
and the rest in my mouth

run outside

Approach him

a rugged
pretty brown eyes
peer at me.



Handing him my one little bottle,
I apologize for not having more to offer

we rarely have cans or bottles

He graciously thanks me,
nodding his head.

I return to my home
to the next recycle bin.

- Lisa Loria

After I ate breakfast I threw some food in a bag and some bottled water. 
Hopped in my car and tried to find him. no luck.

Wish I had thought of packing him food before he left my street.