Sunday, December 21, 2008

Getting Back to Work!

It's been a bit, but I've finally gotten around to making up some new ideas. It's been very satisfying!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No, I'm not dead!

I keep thinking that I can't post anything unless I've got a picture. Quite frankly, I'm terrible at being patient enough to take the pictures, edit them and post them. I get distracted with 26 other things I could be doing!

Another thing, too, is that all my pictures of my beads look the same. Ooh, look at me printing bead sheets. Look at me cutting them. Look at me rolling them. See me dip. See me make 3 pairs of the same thing. Boring. And I'm not at home during the daytime, so I can't take pictures that look well enough anyway.

Can you tell there are other things in my life bothering me? I'm going to find out on Tuesday if I'm pregnant or if it's another false hope. I'm now more than 3 weeks late and my sister made me call the doctor's office to find out if I should get checked out. I totally expected them to say, "oh it's normal to skip every once in a while. It's your body taking a break." Instead I was told that I was too young for menopause and I needed to be given a blood test. But how can five negative pregnancy tests be wrong?

I don't 'feel' pregnant except for wanting to cry all the time. I also want to be pregnant so much that I'm dreading finding out that I'm not. Bleh.

So, instead, I stop blogging. It's so much easier to hide that way.

But I have been doing beads. I've posted tons of them in my etsy shop. I'm just not sure what to say when my mind is all worried about this other stuff.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I've been meaning to...

For a while now, I've been following the doings of this one artist Lisa of c-urchin or seaurchin. Her work is just so pristine and thoughtful. It's true what they say about the more you think about something, the more likely you are to do it yourself - well, that's true in that I finally bought one of her pieces - not the one I want the most, but a beginning...

I'm so happy to live in this day and age of blogs. When I first heard about blogs umpteen months/years ago, I was appalled. I thought they were simply online journals. What arrogance and exhibitionism would a person need to post something like that? Ewww!

Now I know a bit more and love to search out etsy artists whose work I love and catch their blogs. Every day I check out bugsandfishes, lilfishstudios, refabulous and a few others to see what they are doing. It's so inspiring to see another person's work and find that the artist herself is someone admirable, too. More people to learn from and absorb into myself. As Martha Stewart would say, It's A Good Thing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pretty necklaces

I've been busy working away at stocking my Etsy shop. I've had several new designs in the works for some time now and have gotten around to making them up and listing them. This is my favorite of the recent additions!

More later.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's in a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

I have been doing folded books for several months now. Over that time, I've looked around for other examples of folded books on the Internet and have not found that many. My search terms have included "folded, books, book sculpture, folded pages, and upcycled books". The other day I found a site that included the term "altered book". My alarm bells went off.

I *know* what "altered" means in this day and age. It means you buy a whole bunch of off-the-shelf crud (in the scrapbook aisle) to paint, paste or otherwise "embellish" a found object to make it your own. I have to say I HATE the scrapbook craft of today. I hate that "scrapbook" has been turned into a verb. (I hate that "journal" has gone down the same road, too, but that is for another day...) What IS a scrapbook? It's a memory-reminder. It is the content that matters. Nowadays, people have been brainwashed into thinking it is the format and accessories that matter. I have scrapbooks, but they are filled with pictures that mark memories and events. They are not overwhelmed by layouts and embellishments. Pardon me, Layouts and Embellishments. Everybody's stuff looks the same. There is a minimum of content and a lot of decoration. Wasteful. Expensive. Mindless.

That goes for the altered books I saw in my search yesterday. My quest to find like-minded artmakers ended in despair as I saw the same old materials (scrapbooking-type) used in increasingly bizarre combinations (in the name of originality) to make a whole lot of nothing. Most altered books are colored in the same out-of-the-tube magenta, turquoise, lime, and yellow. Pasted with the same looking "vintage" color copy photos (with absolutely NO connection with the artmaker) - many with dunce caps - and embellished with cut-out words, glitter and rickrack. The problem is, this could be really neat! There are really original things you can do with books - think Su Blackwell, Nicholas Jones, Brian Dettmer and others. Someone else who is not as well-known, but I think is also on the track I'd like to pursue (is that the crux of the matter - what I like vs. what everyone else is doing? Neither is wrong? Pbbbbt!) is Karen J. Hatzigeorgiou. She actually does a bit of the stuff I hate, too. Go figure.

Rant over. I think what I'm trying to say, be original. Why the heck are you using a book as your foundational material? I am the last person to have a philosophy about art, so I can't ask "what are you trying to say" because that just leads people to spout obtuse mumbo-jumbo.

I do altered books, too, but it's not the way portrayed in the books you find in the store, using the materials bought at Michaels that EVERYONE uses because "that's what an altered book looks like." *sigh* I'm not where I want to be yet. I've only just begun on my journey, but I think that I'm on the road less traveled. And hopefully, that will make all the difference.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Working with a two-year old

I have a 21-month old child. It took me a long time to have a child in my life so I refuse to complain too much about how hard it is to do anything with him around. Well, at least, I refuse to complain often.

This week has been busy trying to get ready for Halloween. Somehow I got roped into making costumes for two little boys. Brian is really good at coming up with ideas, but not so good at implementing them. That's my job, apparently. *sigh*

Anyway, Alex's prince costume has turned out pretty well. I found a couple of dresses at the local thrift store that I was able to cannibalize into a relatively manly-looking outfit. He'll get to wear it three times this week, so he needs to like it.

Next year, the kids are all going as bags of garbage. Those are easier.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Color - FAIL!

For a while now, people have been asking me for colored beads. My gut feeling was that the colors would run when I dipped them in the sealer. Unfortunately for me, I was right. There go all my plans for colored holiday-themed jewelry.

Oh, well. It's one more way for my life to be simplified. If I had a billion colors to choose from as well as the sheer number of fonts I already have to choose from and the design of the beads (up, down, sideways, long, short) and the number of phrases and words to use, I could well go bonkers.

As if I'm already not well on my way...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Watercolor Weekend

This weekend we had Conference. For those people who are not familiar with Mormon-lingo, Conference is a twice-yearly meeting which is broadcast worldwide. When I was little, it meant getting dressed up and going to the church and sitting on hard folding chairs for two hours straight while listening to boring grown-ups talk about things WAAYY above my head. As I grew older, it was on cable and now my family and I watch it on the Internet (hooked up to the TV). I enjoy it more now, and not just because I get to sit on the couch and do crafts while I listen, but because I understand more of the concepts spoken about. It's a twice a year spiritual recharging and I love it.

Even though we had the kids and I cooked five full meals, I still found myself with *gasp* TIME!!! It had rained on Saturday and on Sunday, the sky was still full of puffy white clouds. It made for glorious light out on the patio. All gold and orange. I, with my watercolors, sat out at the patio table with Mackenzie, who played with Play-Doh while I worked on different pieces. I'm not as impatient as I was in my early years of painting. Now I'm able to work on a piece and let it sit and dry and then go back to it to add another layer or two. And then let that dry and go back to add more layers. And it goes on. It helps that I work on four or five paintings at a time. The above piece is one that I tried putting colored pencils on. I'm not sure about it.

And then I experimented with a different layout. Hmm...

Can you tell from the skyscapes that we actually had WEATHER here in Bakersfield? I love rain. I love weather. We don't have open skies, at least where I live, but I like to paint hugeness.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Yummy Day

I sit here at the computer, eating a salami and pepperoni sandwich that I made with my own two hands. No Subway for me today, baby! Nope, today has been a day of doing and I'm happy with what I've done.

It is Conference weekend and that means I get four glorious hours per day to do crafting while sitting in front of the TV, listening to the words of the prophets and other leaders. Hurray!

Today I worked on a book. A while back I made up a board with examples of all the types of folds I thought would be useful for my book sculptures. Today I brought the board out with me to the couch and figured which one I would do. So, I've been cutting the pictures out of the Reader's Digest Condensed book (one of my two favorites to use because of their size) and folding pages PREPARATORY to my folding them a second way tomorrow. Ha ha! See the picture below to check out what it looks like tonight.

After Conference, the kids went to their nana's to visit and Brian went to the Priesthood session. It was kind of funny how I ended up alone. The baby has a cold and so I thought he'd like to just be with me. I drove the kids all over to Nana's and the older two got out and I started driving away. Then Kenneth Calvin gets trembly lipped and says "Nana...". Huh? He CARES? So, I drove back and Nana came out the front door. I said to her that KC wanted her. She opened the car door and said to him, "Do you want to visit, too?" He looked at her and said, "TOYS!" Yep, that's what Nanas are good for.

So, with my unexpected alone time, I painted!

These two paintings are a representation of what I've been doing. I'm getting happier with the way they are turning out...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday

Yesterday I was able to finagle my work schedule to go in early and get off early. Because of that, my total work day was about 5 1/2 hours. If only I could work so little every day! I came home and got to spend some time with my husband. We had a good evening - I made chicken salad sandwiches for dinner, cookies for dessert, gave the kid three (count 'em!) baths (one for sweaty day, one for playing with mom's lipstick, one for playing in the hose on the patio), worked on beads (because Brian got the printer to work after a week!), and looked through recipe books.

I didn't feel a real need to work on watercolors because I accomplished enough to feel relaxed.

There are times where I wish I could support myself from my art - my watercolors, my folded book sculptures, or my jewelry - and I wonder if Heavenly Father has given me all the tools and I'm just failing to use them.

I guess I just have to try, huh?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Five Minute Watercolors

After working all day and then coming home to a house full of MORE stuff to do and worry about, I've been having trouble relaxing. Brian suggested I find something that I enjoy doing that could be done in 5-minute increments - meaning that he understands that I have little more than 5 minutes at a time to call my own. So I came up with my little watercolors.

I've always liked watercolor and, for some reason, only work small. Here is a sample of what I've been up to lately:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Working hard or hardly working?

I work on some type of art or craft every day. The problem is that all the stuff looks the same. It's not as though all of my work is one-of-a-kind. It gets a bit boring when it comes to pictures. One set of Word Nerd earrings looks much like the next set, you know?

I've been sitting here at the computer for several minutes now, not typing, just staring at the screen. It's awful having time but being too tired to use it well.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Today I worked on jewelry. I've had everything set up at my work office and I use my breaks and lunch to get things made. Here's a sample of today's work...

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Folded Books - trying out new ideas

For a while now, I've had these folded books laying around the house. There were several weeks during the summer when you could always find me with a book in hand, folding away. The problem came when I realized that they weren't very sturdy - my preference being for paperbacks. It's taken me quite a while to figure out how best to improve them.

I had several folded books not work. Most of these were hardcover books that looked neat, but the pages were too brittle, there weren't enough pages to hold the book open pretty, etc. The covers of these books still looked great, so I cannibalized a few of them and hoped to use them to provide foundations for the paperbacks. Here are the results!

I've learned a bit now after doing these three that I think I can improve on my next go-around. In the meantime, I think I might list these in my Etsy shop and see what happens.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Sometimes there are just so many things I want to do that I get frustrated. There is only so much time in the day and the majority of it is taken up with work. I think it's because the past two days have been spent interviewing librarians for two positions we have here in our system (including one at my branch). Work piles up at my branch and I get met practically at the door with every problem that's occurred during my absence. Sometimes walking through the door is like passing through the gauntlet. Or drinking from a fire hydrant. Either one is death.

The things I would rather be doing don't include anything to do with the library, but they are inspired by my working in a library. Several months (maybe even a couple of years) ago, I came up with an idea to pursue with my painting. I love orthogons - the divisions of space that bring balance and order to the composition of a painting. I came up with an idea to paint pictures of books - lining up on shelves or laying in piles or, or, or! I could play with the idea of size of book, with the placement on the shelf, leaning or straight, piled or standing. To say nothing about color or additions of words/decorations (that would only be done in bits and pieces - nothing to overwhelm the initial design of the piece).

But after a long day of work, commuting, picking up kids, fixing dinner, interacting with kids, cleaning kitchen, baths, bedtimes, etc. I am tired. Not just physically, either. It's a case of the spirit is willing, but the flesh is completely incapable.

Tired. Sometimes I want to have a minute to get my brain back and do something to make my heart come alive. For now, though, I have to go take care of the baby...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Putting My Time to Good Use

I had the last three days off and I've put the time to good use. For several years now, I've been accumulating paper - maps, old books, foreign currency, handmade paper, etc. I love the little birds of cottonbirddesigns on Etsy and thought maybe I could do something similar, but more "me". I figured I liked the idea of a bookmouse - in keeping with my love affair with words, books and libraries.I even made a prototype out of computer paper, staples and bent paper clips at work and this weekend, I finally tried it here at home.

Well, guess what. It didn't work. It stunk.

I will let cottonbirddesigns be the queen of the sewn paper animal. Still, I wanted to do something with the paper. So I sewed hearts. I like the idea of little Christmas ornaments with my paper beads on them. I took a picture of the sewn hearts with the wires inset in them to hang beads on. I have to give that a bit of thought to figure out what would work best.

Another wonderful thing was that I worked on beads this morning! I've been mulling around an idea for a holiday set of earrings that you could change out depending on the holiday. I tried a necklace thing, but I don't know if I'll keep that idea. The pendant seems too big.

One other thing I did with the beads is make myself some jewelry. I usually only give myself the cast-offs, but this time I made up several (with GOOD beads) just for me. One thing I've learned is that I don't really care for most of my own jewelry - I don't like the two-bead earring. It's a bit too heavy for me. I am now offering some options for people in that I'll make a double bead and single bead set for people to choose from. Maybe someone else out there is like me...

Oh, in other news, I've been trying my hand at doing a drawing a day and posting it on the Drawing 365 Flickr site. So far, I've just done the drawings but haven't posted the pictures. Here's one just to give you an idea of what I'm doing...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Crafting 365 Day 15

Yesterday I finished loading the last of my backlogged Etsy items to my shop. Huzzah!!! It felt so good - I had no idea that was holding me back creatively. It wasn't that I didn't want to upload pictures, but a few weeks ago, I moved the furniture around in the living room and I broke the phone jack which had the DSL filter on it. Since then, our internet capabilities have been dwindling - pictures don't upload for some reason. *sigh*

Anyway, I decided to give my husband some of my time last night. He deserved it for putting up with endless bead stuff going on. He wanted to watch a movie and I worked on a folded book (the movie was dumb) during the thing. It felt nice to be creative.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Slow and Steady Gets the Prize

Slowly, but surely, I have been making progress on getting my inventory together. I stayed up until waaaaayyy too late last night reconciling my stock on hand with my etsy listings. I have no idea how I can make an item, put it in the shoebox (my very professional storage container) and then have it disappear when I look for it later. Maybe the jewelry fairies are at work. Jerks.

The reconciliation must have been very good for me. I went to bed last night feeling more jazzed about my etsy stuff than I have in months. I even woke up early, anxious to continue pressing forward with the listing of my backlogged items. I took all the pictures and have only about 12 more to list before I can start on the bucketload of new ones I want to get working on!!!

I am really excited to start on a set of holiday-themed changeable earrings. I'll be using toggle clasps to make them and I think they should turn out really well... *fingers crossed*

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lunatic Days

I prefer pictures when I blog. Unfortunately, I'm unable to load them easily for some reason (our Internet is a bit wonky with pics right now). That's why I haven't blogged. So now you know.

I've been working at getting my beads and other art supplies organized. Brian hasn't complained, but our bedroom looks like a construction zone - or the bedroom of a lunatic. There are piles of plastic bins to be sorted that are stacked in front of his closet. Boxes of assorted art supplies are in front of the sliding glass window. A large flat cardboard box is resting against his Wave Master (punching bag thing) and there are glass jars full of shells, acorns and seed pods all over every other flat surface.

There are magical days where my mind is focused and organizing is a breeze. Months' worth of detritus is cleared and put away in a matter of minutes. How do I help those days to happen now? I'm tired of the months' worth of detritus. I don't know where to put everything! Maybe it has something to do with living in an apartment...

Yesterday I took a small paint set (the one I've been carrying around since high school and is still the most perfect thing in the world) to work. I haven't painted in forever and have been spiritually slobbering to do so. During my lunch hour, I cleared off a spot on my desk and took out a small piece of watercolor paper. I tore it down to about 3x5 and used my favorite ink pen (black, waterproof) to draw a border around the edge. I divided the resulting box into sections (I love the concept of orthogons - don't know if it's what I'm actually *doing*, but I pretend...) and drew a house surrounded by seven trees. Since this is my first drawing in months, the house turned out too complicated, but I forgive myself. The trees aren't exactly what I want (they looked like corn dogs on sticks), but I also forgive myself for this. The proportions of the drawing are just right. At the bottom, I put a space to write words. It gives it a sort of illuminated manuscript look (without the calligraphy - just regular writing). I'll try to post a picture of it later. It felt good.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Crafting 365/ Day 5

The Disneyland weekend was sweet and Brian got lots of good information for his Haunted Mansion book. I only had a few minutes to work on anything for myself, folding a few pages of a book while waiting for Fantasmic to start. The pictures I took to for my Crafting 365 turned out horrible, but they are proof for myself that I worked - even on vacation!

I've been spending what little time I have at home (Kenneth Calvin is really needy right now) organizing my beads for my Etsy shop. I invested in a few extra ink cartridges and reams of cardstock. I went through all of my bead files on my computer and printed out copies of all the different ones (more than 150). Now I've been making up folders to keep all the extra printouts in (so I always have some on hand), and I'm thinking about also keeping the actual beads in there, too. Not sure how that'll work with space, though.

Last night I got finished with labeling all my folders. Tonight I guess I'll put the printouts in them and maybe even put baggies of beads in there, too, just to see if it works.

I'm hungry to make jewelry, though. It's been too long! Maybe the kid will play by himself for a bit tonight...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Crafting 365 - Day 1

Today Brian (my husband) and I are taking a weekend vacation to Disneyland. Still, I wanted to make sure I started my crafting 365 thing so I hunted around for a portable project. Please understand me when I say I don't really care for Disneyland, but I do care for my hubby. He loves it and I love him, so here we are.

One of my favorite things to do right now is fold books. I saw this in a Mary Engelbreit magazine several months ago and it fired in my brain. I have done dozens of books (look at my other flickr site:, but I've been so busy lately that I've STARTED several, but haven't finished them. Therefore, I've brought one with me. I worked on it in the car a bit, but it was hard to keep my folds even with the car bumping over the 99South freeway.

Here's a picture of the project in progress right now. I'm taking it and a couple of other unfinished ones in a bag to the park tomorrow. Brian is researching The Haunted Mansion for his book (stories for each of the ghosts and an overarching backstory for the whole shootin' match). I'm not sure how many times I'm going to be willing to ride the ride and will need something to do while I wait. Yay.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Being Comfortable in My Skin

For a while now, I've been mulling over the idea of a blog. I've even started a couple of other blogs, trying to find my voice.
What aspect of my life do I want to talk about? My job? I don't really identify with being a librarian; in fact, I find that I spend a lot of time trying to be un-stereotypical. Yes, I know that's a waste, but there it is. My family? I am married to someone with a family background in law enforcement. Apparently, so I'm told, everyone in the world is a pervert and any mention of my family will target them for those perverts. I am not strong enough to fight against the family ill-will to talk about them (although since I DO have a family, they will impact my blog sometimes). My art? Hmm...
This confusion reminds me of when I was in college. I started out as a psych major and then changed to early childhood education. It only took two weeks for me to switch to graphic design and then back to psychology. I was still uneasy. Just so you know, it was my sophomore year (or was it my junior?) and I was fighting a time crunch. If I was going to decide, it had to be soon.
Now, something you should know is that all this time, I'd made room in my schedule each semester to take an art class. These were just the non-major classes, but they gave me time to be "me." I'd given brief thought to being an art major, but I had no desire to be one of those people who wore all black, spouted quotations from dead poets and, in general, creeped me out. But one day I was in English class and a thought came into my mind. What if I wrote a list of pros and cons about being an art major? So I did. I wish I could remember what they were, but the point is, the pros won. And I thought, why not? So, the next day, I changed my major to art and never looked back. It took me an extra semester (or two?) to graduate, but I got my BFA in watercolor and was pretty happy with my education.
This blog confusion seems to be the same thing. I look around everywhere but at the obvious - I love doing art/craft. So there. So now I will blog about it.