Practice



I started this block print about a week ago and it's been sitting in my studio unfinished. Today I decided to turn it into a partner for the other framed block print I posted a few days ago. They look cute on the wall together. These are actually practice pieces for something that I plan on offering in my shop in a couple of months.

Speaking of the shop I've been trying to stay on top of things to be able to reopen in February. One thing I have to do is stop visiting so many blogs! But some of them are so wonderful to read. I have no idea how people like Alicia do it. Her most recent post is so 'visual'. I wish I could do that. I simply don't know how.

Off to do homework with D and drink some hot tea...ummm.

Nothing grand



Today I had few minutes before picking up the kids from school to get an idea out of my head. I've had scraps of cork floating around the studio since my Christmas ornament project and I haven't been able to just throw them away. In keeping with my "use what I have" resolution (what impulse purchase of balsa wood? ha!) here is a project that isn't exactly a failure but definitely not a resounding success either. I almost decided against posting it but what the heck. Value can also be found in our so-so projects don't you think? This was supposed to work as a long bulletin board for a very narrow section we have next to one of the doors in our studio. It's hung but probably not for long. It looked better in my mind. Oh well.

Speaking of projects and not really getting attached to them, I read this post, (that I found through Sally), and I really understand much of it. The part that is more in line with what I feel about what I do is the fact that I don’t really dwell on something I’ve worked on for that long at all. Once something is done I move on. I’d rather be ‘doing’ than sitting back and admiring my handiwork if that makes sense.

Totally random thoughts that just popped into my head... Have I ever mention that I almost studied industrial design? I still have a secret longing to do it. If tuition and time away from home weren't an issue (in dreamland!), yes, I'd go for it. My other dream/crazy idea is to publish a book about crafty projects where your main tool is an Xacto knife. I don't know what I'd do without mine!

By the way, thank you SO much for all your lovely comments (here and on my flickr page) regarding my balsa trees. I greatly appreciate them all. You are simply too kind!! :)

Happy



After working on this more than I thought it would take me I finally finished my little trees. The frame is something I had handy but I think I'll look for something different. My original plan was to place the trees in some sort of shadow box. I want to use a pin on each corner so that the trees are floating in the box and hopefully get some shadows of the trees on the background. It works in my head we'll see if it actually does work when I get the proper frame. For now I just removed the back of the frame and you can see some shadows on the wall. Not exactly what I envisioned but that's ok.

The flowers you see where a little surprise from my husband yesterday. I call them my "just because" flowers which are the best to receive. I told my husband a long time ago that I didn't want him to ever give me anything for Valentine's day. I'm just not into it and neither is he. These flowers, on the other hand, are the ones I love to get. If they're gerber daisies even better! They're my favorite flowers.

Thank you to all of you who posted your 'hellos' in my previous post. I looove hearing from all of you. It's so interesting to see all your blogs and what your interests are and realize that we have many things in common (art, design, kids, work from home, some or all of the above!). I hope you continue to visit! :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Delurking

I know that national delurking week was a several weeks ago but I'd like to declare a delurking week on my blog since it's still January. I loved the fact that through the comments that I got from some of you on my previous post (wasn't that great?!) I was able to 'meet' new people that I didn't know. I don't post very many comments myself so I understand the hesitation but I would love to get to know a little more about everyone that visits here. I don't bite. I promise and I love, love, comments. They are all truly appreciated. All you have to do is say hello! :)

I don't have an actual 'about me' page here but you can take a peek at the one I created today for Crafty Synergy which is celebrating it's first year of existence today. Yeah!


This is a little something I started yesterday. I went to a local art store and bought this balsa wood just because it looked really nice. I didn't know what I was going to do with it. But now I do. I'll keep you posted.

Preaching to the choir

The following is something that was posted on CraigsList this morning. I found out about it at a design forum which I frequent and it seems like it's making the blog rounds now. The post was removed from CraigsList but was fortunately saved by someone else for the rest of us to distribute. If you're a designer/illustrator/artist you'll most probably love and understand it. I found myself nodding 'yes' many times throughout and recalling all the instances that as a designer I've been 'stepped' on or taken advantage of. If you're a person in need of any of the professionals mentioned it may help you understand a little more of what the rest of us go through on a daily basis.

As of now no one knows who wrote this but I sure wish this person understands how many people appreciate it. Some parts may be brusque for the taste of some but other than that it's right on point. Yes, it's long but it's worth it.

Post from CraigsList

Every day, there are more and more Craigs List posts seeking “artists” for everything from auto graphics to comic books to corporate logo designs. More people are finding themselves in need of some form of illustrative service.

But what they’re NOT doing, unfortunately, is realizing how rare someone with these particular talents can be.

To those who are “seeking artists”, let me ask you; How many people do you know, personally, with the talent and skill to perform the services you need? A dozen? Five? One? …none?

More than likely, you don’t know any. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be posting on craigslist to find them.

And this is not really a surprise.

In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as there are professional illustrators. There are eleven times as many certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT field.

So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand, would it make sense to ask your mechanic to work on your car for free? Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that his compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others as you drive down the street?

Would you offer a neurosurgeon the “opportunity” to add your name to his resume as payment for removing that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could offer him “a few bucks” for “materials”. What a deal!)

Would you be able to seriously even CONSIDER offering your web hosting service the chance to have people see their work, by viewing your website, as their payment for hosting you?

If you answered “yes” to ANY of the above, you’re obviously insane. If you answered “no”, then kudos to you for living in the real world.

But then tell me… why would you think it is okay to live out the same, delusional, ridiculous fantasy when seeking someone whose abilities are even less in supply than these folks?

Graphic artists, illustrators, painters, etc., are skilled tradesmen. As such, to consider them as, or deal with them as, anything less than professionals fully deserving of your respect is both insulting and a bad reflection on you as a sane, reasonable person. In short, it makes you look like a twit.

A few things you need to know;

1. It is not a “great opportunity” for an artist to have his work seen on your car/’zine/website/bedroom wall, etc. It IS a “great opportunity” for YOU to have their work there.

2. It is not clever to seek a “student” or “beginner” in an attempt to get work for free. It’s ignorant and insulting. They may be “students”, but that does not mean they don’t deserve to be paid for their hard work. You were a “student” once, too. Would you have taken that job at McDonalds with no pay, because you were learning essential job skills for the real world? Yes, your proposition it JUST as stupid.

3. The chance to have their name on something that is going to be seen by other people, whether it’s one or one million, is NOT a valid enticement. Neither is the right to add that work to their “portfolio”. They get to do those things ANYWAY, after being paid as they should. It’s not compensation. It’s their right, and it’s a given.

4. Stop thinking that you’re giving them some great chance to work. Once they skip over your silly ad, as they should, the next ad is usually for someone who lives in the real world, and as such, will pay them. There are far more jobs needing these skills than there are people who possess these skills.

5. Students DO need “experience”. But they do NOT need to get it by giving their work away. In fact, this does not even offer them the experience they need. Anyone who will not/can not pay them is obviously the type of person or business they should be ashamed to have on their resume anyway. Do you think professional contractors list the “experience” they got while nailing down a loose step at their grandmother’s house when they were seventeen?

If you your company or gig was worth listing as desired experience, it would be able to pay for the services it received. The only experience they will get doing free work for you is a lesson learned in what kinds of scrubs they should not lower themselves to deal with.

6. (This one is FOR the artists out there, please pay attention.) Some will ask you to “submit work for consideration”. They may even be posing as some sort of “contest”. These are almost always scams. They will take the work submitted by many artists seeking to win the “contest”, or be “chosen” for the gig, and find what they like most. They will then usually have someone who works for them, or someone who works incredibly cheap because they have no originality or talent of their own, reproduce that same work, or even just make slight modifications to it, and claim it as their own. You will NOT be paid, you will NOT win the contest. The only people who win, here, are the underhanded folks who run these ads. This is speculative, or “spec”, work. It’s risky at best, and a complete scam at worst. I urge you to avoid it, completely. For more information on this subject, please visit www.no-spec.com.

So to artists/designers/illustrators looking for work, do everyone a favor, ESPECIALLY yourselves, and avoid people who do not intend to pay you. Whether they are “spec” gigs, or just some guy who wants a free mural on his living room walls. They need you. You do NOT need them.

And for those who are looking for someone to do work for free… please wake up and join the real world. The only thing you’re accomplishing is to insult those with the skills you need. Get a clue.

Hanging leaves



Embroidery and a frame converted my little experiment of the other day into this. It's hanging on what used to be a lonely spot on one of our walls.

decisions



As my self-imposed deadline, of opening my shop again in February, approaches I've been focusing on what I really want to showcase. We had a slow weekend and I had time to really think. The little sketch exercises that I've been keeping up in my Moleskine have also helped me understand what I'm gravitating towards. I pulled out my old blocks and I'm going to try to be brutally honest with myself in regards to what I should keep and what I shouldn't. Some are easy to discard and some I'm on the fence about. Another decision I need to make is regarding ink colors. Sometimes I really want to go bright but other times I like a more subtle/darker approach.

What I've always felt about A Little Hut is that it's my little art lab. It's my place to play, to see what works and what doesn't. When something doesn't work it hurts more simply because there is more of 'me' invested compared to my design work. I have to learn to just let go and let the work speak for itself.

Off to work some more... design and carving are both on my plate today!

Curious



This is a little experiment I tried. It's a vector illustration inspired by the block print that I made on Friday. I got this idea that I needed to see it as a pattern so I decided to work on it for a while tonight. To be honest, I prefer the handmade quality of the block print directly on fabric. The feel of the lines is obviously different. Regarding the color, it seems like I'm in a blue color rut. I need to work on getting out of that. Anyway...I tried it. It was an interesting exercise. Now I can move on to the next thing. ;)

Quiet time



I had a quiet day today and I was able to make some progress with new work for my shop. Ever since I bought my Moleskine 90% of what I've sketched is plant life. The winter cold is making me long for some pretty plants to start sprouting. This is the first example of using one of my sketches as inspiration. I think the carving still needs a little work in some spots but as usual I was impatient and wanted to see this on a scrap of fabric right away.

I have to keep this short and sweet because I've got to run and pick up my little ones from school! A relaxed mom makes a better mom. I'm totally convinced of that. It's going to be a fun afternoon. I can feel it already.

Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Therapy



Don't you ever have the urge to just make something - anything? Just as long as you can get your hands working on something?

After a very busy day yesterday I had that urge. I've had this print, that started as an experiment, floating around my studio for several weeks now. Some of you may recognize it as a block print I made for a card I had in the shop. This particular print is not of the best quality but it proved sufficient for my needs last night. The few minutes it took me to embroider the two birds was enough to make the stress melt away. Just what the doctor ordered. :)

Through her eyes



Little C is 3 and loves to take pictures. When we got our latest camera we decided that instead of making it off limits (and running the risk of her damaging it) we would show her how to use it properly. She knows the basics and just goes for it. She took this shot of our breakfast nook today. I'm going to start collecting her best efforts here.

Incessant



I finally got myself a moleskine! :) It's the small 3.5" x 5" version and I love it. I have a couple of other bigger sketch books that I use on a daily basis for work (and as a mommy saving tool when little ones need some artistic distraction!) but I want this one to be just about doodles and ideas for my own projects. My plan is to fill in a few pages on a daily basis. When I release ideas on to paper it feels very relaxing and freeing.

What is it with me and trees lately?

Oldies but goodies



As I started organizing my office yesterday I found this little felt board that I made a while back for D. It was the easiest/cheapest thing to make and he enjoyed it a whole lot. Little C saw it and jumped right in. I'll have to make her a little package of new shapes so that she won't feel so left out this afternoon when we celebrate D's birthday here at home.

To make this I used two square pieces of chipboard and covered them with felt on the inside and the outside leaving about 1" of space between the boards. The space allows for storage of the shapes when the whole thing is closed like a book. I also inserted a ribbon on both ends so that it can be tied shut.

Here the artist is hard at work.



Speaking of old toys and my office...this one is about *cough* thirty years old and sits on a shelf above my desk (to remind me to think young!). Little C likes to play with what's left of the rest of the set and invites me to drink tea and eat plastic veggies when she's in the mood. I love watching her play with my old toys. It gets me all nostalgic - but in a good way.

Seven

My little D isn't so little anymore. Today he turns seven. I can't believe it! It's gone by so fast. I just dropped him off at school where he was surrounded (more like mobbed!) by his entire class in one great big spontaneous group hug. It was so cute. I wish I had had a camera with me.

Last night I went through all the pictures we took of the day D was born. It seems amazing to me that even though so much has happened since then I still feel like it was yesterday.

I love you bebé! (yes, I know you're a big boy now but you will always be my baby!)

More embroidery and block prints



This was the wip photo I took of the Christmas gifts I gave the kids' teachers this year. Are you tired of my trees already? I just loved making them! The leaves equal the number of children in each class. I made two more for very dear friends and they were all framed. I forgot to take pictures of the finalized projects! :( I'm thinking I may make a couple more and sell them on my site, which by the way, is closed until February. I want to revamp and start fresh. I was supposed to work on new designs in December but it never happened.

This block print/embroidery type of project is going to be my "thing" this year. I can feel it. Now if I can only find a name for it. What would you call this type of crafty illustration thing?

I said good bye to my Am Intrigued blog. It was time to do it. One of my main goals this year is to lighten my load and clear the clutter everywhere. In December I worked on my bedroom and the kids' rooms. I took many bags to Goodwill, donated books to the library and threw out a bunch of junk. It felt GOOD! One blog down and bedrooms done...now to organize the garage and my office! Yikes!

2007!

I'm back! Don't you love the feeling of a clean slate? That's how I feel every new year. LOVE IT. I don't usually make new year's resolutions because I learned a long time ago that I don't stick to them. This year I am but instead I'm calling them goals (yes, I know I discovered something really "new"!). Just that small word change makes a huge difference in my mind.

The holidays were great! We enjoyed them surrounded by family, friends and lots of good food. I really didn't stress out as much this time around because I really cut back my to-do list for December. I did the essentials without killing myself.

On to this year...I have a lot of ideas and I'm in the process of starting them. They cover all aspects of my personal and professional life and I think they are very realistic. I feel they're going to help me make this a great year!

Oh and one more thing...I was tagged by Dai from Dear Monday to list 6 strange things about me that you may not know. These were actually hard to come up with!

1. I HATE avocados and the crunch of raw onions. Yuck!

2. We have two wedding anniversaries one in March (10 minute, nice outfit, civil ceremony) and one in August (typical white bridal dress, long, catholic wedding). Long story! We consider the August wedding our "real" anniversary.

3. I used to be an absolute neat freak. In my mind I still am but after having kids I control my impulses to have everything perfectly arranged. The thing that helps me the most is something someone once said to me: "Do you want your kids to remember living in a happy messy home, or in an unhappy museum looking home?"

4. When using a pen it MUST be black ink. Any other color just doesn't seem right.

5. I have a really nice pen and lots and lots of pencils but most of the time when I draw/doodle I really like using a cheap old BIC pen. I don't know why.

6. I love white dishes and I don't think that will ever change. I think that there are beautiful colored/patterned china sets but I fear I'd get tired of a specific one and want to change it every so often. My color preferences may also change from time to time. It's easier to have different linens to set a certain mood.

So there you have it! Thanks Dai. That was fun. :) I'm tagging Kathleen and Nicole Edit...they've already been tagged.