Friday, May 29, 2009

Busy as usual

I got my Santas, 2 snowmen, a stick horse, and an angel done and sent off to Country Sampler Magazine for the October/ November 2009 issue. It's always so hard deciding what to do. Especially since we're working "out-of-season".

This witch will be in the August/September issue with several other items. If you click on her picture it takes you to my website and a complete description. (I do 2 ads in both the fall and Christmas issues.)

I'm still working on lots of Americana dolls for summer and the 4th of July but it's never too soon to start thinking about and creating for fall and winter. If you think it's too warm to create and craft for those seasons--close your curtains and turn a couple of fans on directed at your body to cool you off. Get out some inspiration for the season you're working on--magazines, a Christmas tree, a Halloween witch, hand Christmas lights in your crafting area... If you can't see it's a nice summer day, and you're surrounded by the season, you'll be able to create!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hester Prynne

I've just finished a wonderful new Hester Prynne witch and listed her on Etsy along with the pattern and e pattern. It's hard to believe it's already time to start making Halloween items but they're my favorites.

I'm still working on Santas, snowmen, and an angel for the October/November Country Sampler ad. I hope to finish them tomorrow---if only I can get Santa's robe finished, stained, and dried. I have my fingers crossed.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Burnout solutions

I've been asked about it a problem for me, what do I do when I get it?

I have moments when I just want to quit but I'd be so bored by the second day...I don't do sitting around well. I do like to read but I'd rather listen to an audio book while I'm sewing.

I can honestly tell you 2 big tricks that work really well. The first is for stress....get out doors and take a walk. It really helps. You can walk as fast or slow as you want. OR, take a bicycle ride. Both get you outdoors and the fresh air is invigorating. I also get a lot of ideas while walking. OR try gardening. It's also a great stress reliever with lots of, fresh veggies, and of course exercise and fresh air.

The second trick is for that "I just can't do this anymore" feeling. You know, when you work in an office, you get coffee breaks and a lunch break. Working at home I always take a luch break but I've learned to give myself 2 ME breaks. They're my answer to a coffee break and I have to do something other that the "job" I was working on.

I started a doll (Bewitching Bess--she's the pumpkin witch shown in a previous post) in March. I cut out the body and during my breaks I slowly worked on her with no idea where I was going with the design. I spent probably 2 weeks on the body/face. When it came to arms and legs, I must have cut them in 4 different sizes each to find something that worked with her body shape. Her dress took more than a week to design. It was so much fun to allow myself that much time to create a special doll. If you click on the picture of Bess, it will take you to ETSY where I've listed her and there are more and much better photos there.

So, when you feel overwhelmed or "burned out" allow yourself to play. My next ME project is going to be an ART DOLL! I'll post a picture when I finish her but don't expect her too soon...I also have to get my flowers planted and vegetables set out in the garden.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I finished BETWTCHING BESS yesterday and listed her on ETSY. There are much better views there. If you click on the picture here, it will take you directly to Etsy.

Bess has been my "ME TIME" project for the last 2 1/2 months. When I need a break from the demands of making primitive dolls, I do something else I want to try. It saves "burnout".

I had so much fun creating her. I love playing with fabric and seeing what you can create by combining fabrics, needle sculpting, and painting. I like to recycle (only now it seems to be called upcycling because you're taking a discarded item and making something better, newer, or more valuable than you started with). I purchase shirts from the thrift shop and use the buttons for eyes, and I use the fabric for clothing if I can and "ragg" stuffing if I can't.

Bess's hair is rayon cord that my mother purchased in 1942, just after she got out of high school. She started crocheting a purse and gave up and the cord was still in her cedar chest after she passed away. Untwisted, it makes wonderful creepy hair.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Great new website - check it out

I found a great new web site called MIXXMADE that I have to share with you. It's a community made of groups that you can join or not. Even if you don't join the groups, as a member of MIXXMADE--did I tell you it's FREE-- you can read posts by other groups as well as see who belongs and what they're doing.

Mixxmade is having their grand opening right now. I started a group there called PRIMITIVES & FOLK ART We're looking for new members. I'm not sure what exactly we're going to do there and I'm open to suggestions but I do know we can post links and photos and tell about ourselves and our art.

There are also groups for Etsy, Artfire, Recycling, Fiber Arts, Art Dolls, Marketing, Ferret lovers. Not only those but more and if you don't see a group that's your "thing" you can start one that is. Check it out. It's great to find a place where you can learn and associate with like minded people.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cleaned and Reorganized

I got up Saturday morning and came to my studio to start work and couldn't find the pattern I wanted to cut out..........Oh my goodness! My studio was such a mess. I wanted to cry.

Yes, I'd realized before then that I needed to clean and put things away but it was like being smacked in the face. I started to make a list of containers to purchased so I could sort things and put them away when I realized.......that's not the answer. Instead of starting in my studio, I went to my garage and spotted 15 plastic storage drawers with tools and woodwork items in them. I like them. You can see through them, and stack them quite high and still get into the bottom drawer without unstacking the whole thing.

I took the drawers off the shelves in the garage (the shelves in the garage are the height of 2 plastic shoe boxes apart so I wouldn't be causing a lot of inconvenience by switching storage containers) and emptied them --- all 15 of them. Then I used the plastic sweater boxes and shoe boxes I had in my studio (but rarely put away because of the unstacking problem) and resorted everything on the floor of the garage into the new containers. This resulted in re-organizing most of the 6 foot by 6 foot storage rack in the garage.

The next step was to wash all the drawers and let them dry. Meanwhile, I started picking things up in my studio and cleaning off the shelves. When the drawers were dry, I brought them in and put them on the shelves. Next I cut enough labels so I'd have one for each storage drawer. I sorted things and put them in the drawers and then I put a label on each drawer so I wouldn't spend even 1 day trying to remember where I put things.

I started at 8:00 AM Saturday and worked until 6:00 PM and Sunday I worked from 7:00 AM til about 5:00 PM, but it's so nice to walk in and be able to find things without spending 20 minutes looking.

I'm not quite done....I want to refold my fabrics and sort them by color AGAIN but that has to wait until next weekend. I accomplished so much sewing today and t was just because everything was so much easier to find. When I get that fabric resorted---WOW, there'll be no slowing me down.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Husbands are so funny!

Today, after an early trip to the post office, my husband and I headed for La Crosse, 65 miles away ---- the closest place to fabric shop.

I had several shopping stops...I had to stop at one store and purchase flat black spray paint for my picture frames and pull toy bases and wheels.

The next stop was Hobby Lobby where I purchased the last 11 yards of dark red cotton with little white stars. This was for my America doll (I have to make 4 more) as well as vests for one style of Uncle Sam.

The last stop was Hancock Fabrics. This was just a time killer before lunch because I didn't really need anything and wasn't really looking for anything special never know what you'll find. Besides, cotton and upholstery fabrics were both on sale. I looked and looked and finally remembered I wanted more black on white floral print fabric for my black Thelma Lou doll . I found one I liked and told my husband he could take it over to the cutting table and tell the clerk I'd like 2 yards. I continued to look and found something else I liked a lot. I took it over to the cutting table in time to hear my husband say, "I don't see why she spends so much time picking out just the right color, she dyes it and stains it anyway and it won't look anything like it does now." Aren't husbands cute?