Friday, May 29, 2009

I was chosen by Bellissima for the "One Lovely Blog award." Thank you so much, Bellissima. Here is a link to her blog: She has the most delicious looking soap and beautiful mineral make up - and she lives right down the street from me! I've never met her or seen her shop before today, but I am a future customer. Thank you Bellissima!
I humbly accept the "One Lovely Blog Award," and in doing so, post the Rules of Blog Award Acceptance:
1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
So if you are on the list below, please pass on the award by taking the above steps. LOVE these blogs!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Young Entreprenaurs

My Husband decided that he wanted to sell the extreme surplus of tomato plants that we had in our greenhouse. I thought this was a great idea, but wanted to add a little something to it. I wanted a lemonade stand. I had my husband make a sign. Apparently, he wanted a LEMONAIDE stand.

It was fun, just sitting around with the kids telling jokes and yelling out to all the cars. The older kids were yelling "Lemonade, fifty cents!" Wesley was yelling, "Come get some money!"

This wasn't the only thing that he was confused about.

I found a four leaf clover and added it to my collection. That's 50 now. I told my hubby that maybe I should go for a world record. I thought, "Hey if it's 500 - I could do that eventually." I looked it up, it's over 160,000 four leaf clovers belonging to one person!

I don't know if that person feels lucky, but I know I do.

The kids ended up making $23. Not bad for a tomato plant and lemonaide stand!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tips to Craft Show Success

Over the years I have done quite a few art and craft show. I have done some that went very well, that I really enjoyed and I have done others that I left knowing that I would not be back next year.
I am not an expert, but here are a few things that I've learned from experience.
Where to find the shows:
* The easiest thing to do is to look up local art shows or craft fairs on the internet. Usually you will get enough shows to keep you pretty busy. However the smaller shows don't always list their events online. The best show that I ever attended was a smaller show that didn't list online.
* Go to your town's Chamber of Commerce, as well as the neighboring town's Chamber of Commerce. They can usually give you a better list of events than anyone else.
* Don't be afraid to ask other crafters and artists which shows that they attend and which ones they really like. People always think that others will be put off by this, this is not usually the case. Most artists and crafters want to help eachother out.
Some things I've learned the hard way:
If I could go back in time, I could've saved myself a lot of misery. While I love going to the shows, I also think that if you are not fully prepared, it can be chaotic.
* Make sure that you are aware of the rules and restrictions of the show that you are attending. The people who set this show up work very hard to get it to run smoothly, you don't want to make it any more difficult for them.
* Start preparing the weekend before the event. If it is a big event, you may want to set up your table with all of your wares on it to see how it looks and what you will need to add or take away in order for it to look attractive.
* Make a list of everything that you need. Check it off as you load it into the car.
Some thinigs that I ALWAYS take to a show are listed below.
- Rain gear, a sweatshirt, and a change of clothes. You just never know, and believe me there is nothing worse than having to sit in wet clothes for hours on end.
- Snacks and drinks. Pack a lunch and put it in a little cooler. The vendors at the show are usually on the expensive side, and I'd rather keep my earnings. Some shows don't allow a cooler, so be sure to ask before you bring one.
- Ofcourse, you'll need your table, table covers, a sign with your logo and slogan on it and your displays.
- Your product, packaged or displayed beautifully. The truth is, the average person will not spend a lot of time at your booth. Most will just walk by if there isn't something to really attract them.
- Extra bags, price tags, pens and paper. Like I said, you never know.
- Cash box with money already in it to make change, receipt book, a calculator, if you accept charge cards you'll need an imprinter and slips and your state sales tax license.
- Business cards, coupons, brochures or fliers.
- A mirror if you sell jewelry or clothing.
- Special order forms. Have a sign that tells customers that if they like a product but they're not crazy about the color or size, that you can make them one just the way they want. Have all of your prducts named or numbered and put this on the form. Write down exactly what they want, you won't remember later.
- A repair kit with tools to fix your displays, scissors, tape, a screw driver etc.
- Baby wipes and bandaids. I've found that I need these more often than I care to admit.
*Have everything ready to go the night before.
* Get plenty of sleep the night before. Craft shows can be exhausting, and you want to make sure that you have a lot of energy.
* Be ready to order out the night of the show, or prepare dinner ahead of time. Trust me, you will be too tired to cook.
* Smile at every person that stops at your booth, no matter how briefly, and no matter how much of a bad mood you are in.
* Talk to people. I am very outgoing, but I am aware that some people are painfully shy. My advice, pretend you are very outgoing. You really need to talk to the people that stop at your booth. Ask them if they need help, if they seem open, start a conversation about something else, their hair, the beautiful weather, their pets or children. People love to talk about themselves and I've sold things because people like me and enjoy talking to me. You are selling yourself as much as your product.
* Brag. Yes, tell people why your product is better than the competitions. Don't put it that way, ofcourse, but you do want to tell them the reasons why your product is great.
* Do somthing that sets you apart from the other booths. If you sell something functional, demonstrate how it should be used. Something fun that I did one year was I gave scratch tickets that I had custom made with each purchase. Instead of winning the lottery, they won a free print, or 20% off their next purchase. This seller on etsy sells some of these tickets: They would be great to ship out to customers too. Just make sure that you are in compliance with the show's rules.
* Make sure that your booth is VERY attractive and eye-catching. Have a sign professionally made with your logo and slogan on it, it's worth the investment. Use bright colors and an attractive table cover that compliments your products without taking away from them. Move things around until you find an arrangement that is pleasing to the eye and makes it look like you have many products. This is very important, you only get a matter of a few seconds to attract customers, so put a lot of time and effort into this.

Things that you should NEVER do during a show.
- Bring children under 12 or pets. You can't possibly focus on your customers when you need to take care of the needs of children or animals. I have both and I adore them, but they don't belong with you at a show. I think that it is fine to bring older, helpful children with you, if they won't be bugging you every five minutes.
- Read. This is a tough one for me, because I am a big reader. However, I know that when I browse a show, if someone is reading I don't want to ask questions. You want to be available.
- Hang out with your friends. It's great if they want to come by and check out your booth, but do not ignore your customers while they are there and NEVER, EVER invite them to pull up a chair and stay a while.
- Listen to the radio. Once again, you need to be available. You want to leave hand held games, the blackberry and all other distracting electronics at home. If you need to have a cell phone on you, don't talk on it unless you need to.
- Break any of the show's rules. I don't care if you think they won't notice. You want to be invited back.
- Don't be doing your craft. This is another tough one for me, because I need to stay busy. This makes you unapproachable, and this is the last thing you want to be. If it is slow, than you can double check your inventory, your set up, have a snack or have someone cover for you while you take a break.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lisa's Little Luxuries

Lisa of Lisa's Little Luxuries creates beautiful jewelry that I love because it is truly the type of jewelry that you want to wear with everything and anything. I interviewed her for this feature and this is what she had to say.
Why do you create what you create? Uh, I originally got into it for the business part because of my mother. She can only wear really light and feathery earrings, but wanted something BEAUTIFUL. After all of her jewelry was stolen (including her wedding ring poor thing), I got to work and started making her sets, beautiful swarovski earrings that were light so she could wear them and other lovely things. Happy to say she has a full collection again.
What other talents do you possess? I am an amateur actress, singer, photographer, and used to do amateur modeling and make up. I am an author and am trying to get my books off the ground. I also make decorated baskets, wreaths, table center pieces (for the holidays) and picture frames.
What is your biggest goal for the year to come? I would love to gain some momentum in my shop to help myself and my family out in our financial struggles right now. I also hope to open up a new etsy shop.
Where else can we find your work? My work is all over the net. Only for sale here, but, I promote on myspace, facebook, even youtube.

Ivory Brass Ring
Spring is in the Air Memory Wire bracelet
NERDS Memory Wire Bracelet

These are my three favorites above, but she has much more at her jewelry shop, be sure to check it out.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ask any of my friends and they will tell you - I am a handbag freak. I love them. I probably have more handbags than I do clothing. So, it is not surprizing that I would find a shop on etsy that sells some very nice bags.

I interviewed Erin of RuJu, a shop filled with beautiful bags of many colors and sizes.

Why do you create what you create?hmmm...good question. I make purses because I LOVE bags. I sew at night, when my kids go to bed. Bedtime is very stressful for me. I have 2 kids, ages 5 and 2....neither one of them is a fan of sleeping...just like their mama. So, once they hit the hay I get to it by making bags. Sometimes if I really get into what I'm making I end up staying up really late, then I dread putting my kids in bed on time the night before cause I just want to sleep the morning away. Damned if ya do, damned if ya don't. he he he.

What other talents do you possess?Well, according to my 5 year old daughter I'm the "best cooker". (lol) Seriously tho, aside from sewing I also love photography. I have a studio and specialize in childrens portraits. I've also done a few weddings.

What is your biggest goal for the year to come?My biggest goal is to continue de-stressing myself by sewing. I have a habit of getting really into a certain thing, then out of know where changing directions onto a new endeavor. I've started to establish my name locally, and would love to be more recognized. So I guess it is to keep my fickle self focused.

Where else can we find your work? I do a few shows here and there around the central PA area. May 30th I will be in Lancaster, PA at the Eastern Market, and June 7th I will be at Crafty By Nature in Shupps Grove in Adamstown, PA. You can also find me on It's an online community, and is a great place to find a whole bunch of Pennsylvania Crafters. RuJu also has a facebook page, where I update info on the shows I do. (all of these links are in my shop announcement)

Erin has 2 small children so everything you see in her shop was most likely created in the wee hours of the night. (I know how that is)She has been sewing since 9th grade, making purses for about 5 years. She rarely remembers to make patterns for her purses, so they are all pretty much one of a kind. She's married and has a pet guinea pig named froggie.

You should definately go have a look see at her unique handbag store RuJu.

Hot Air Balloon Purse
Brown Bag

Brown and Orange Supreme

Friday, May 22, 2009

Went Shopping!

Yesterday I went shopping with a friend and bought all kinds of neat things to paint on. I am so excited, because these aren't just canvas and art boards as usual. I bought a clock, boxes, some wooden ballish things and other really cool stuff to paint on.

I think that although I love painting, there is something fun and functional about painting on stuff. I think that being able to create beautiful things that are useful will be new and interesting. Let's face it, there isn't much that you can do with art except hang it. You can't even take it with you to show it off!

I am not putting fine art down - at all. Believe me, I love it. It's just something new that I am going to try and if nothing else it will be a learning experience. I've done this sporadically in the past - twice that I've taken photos of. Here they are:

I have fun with all of this, and isn't that what it is about. Although these are cute, I really would like more detailed painting on the things that I want to make.
I am really looking forward to this and I want to keep you updated. I know this sounds like a huge task, but my goal is to paint one new painting a day on the following surfaces (objects):
Clocks, canvas bags, pendants for jewelry, decorative wooden spoons, prayer or blessing plaques, signs for the home, journals, cigar box purses, treasure chests, small peices of furniture, and anything else that I can find or think of.
Part of my goal will be to post it here everyday. Ofcourse, they will all be for sale in my etsy shop.
I just shook my own hand and wished myself good luck. Today is Friday, I need three more days to finish the painting I was commissioned to do and then I will move on to this goal. So - starting Tuesday, I will be like a crazy woman - or insane artist, whatever you want to call me.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What I Learned from Self Help Books

I read daily and finish about one book a week. This is a lot considering I have three children, work in the home (my art business) and out of the home (dog training).
I make it a point to read a lot of self help books. Sometimes I get a lot from them, and other times I feel that I'm reading the same thing over and over again. The basic points of these books that I think have helped me the most are the following:
Take responsability for your life, meaning that you can't blame anyone else for your mistakes, shortcomings or problems. You created them, and now only you can fix them. I think that knowing this is actually liberating. If you've created your life up until now, doesn't that mean that you can create a better life in the future. Jack Canfield says that you control your reactions to the events in your life and this is how you create your entire life. React better to the events in your life, and you will have better outcomes. You control what you think, say, believe and do. If you don't like your life, than change these things.
Prioritize. Know what is most important to you, so that you can narrow your focus. You can't do it all, you can't be everything to everyone, you will fall apart. Write down the three most important things in your life and focus 90% of your time and energy on these three things.
You need a purpose and a mission, something that you are excited about from the moment you get up until you fall asleep at night. Write down exactly what you think your life purpose is clearly in two or three sentences and read it everyday. Decide on the things that you really want. Write a list, let it be long. You deserve to have what you really want. Share it with others, tell them your desires, and then go after them.
Believe. Know that you can do it and that these things will happen for you.
Set goals that challenge you. Make sure that they are S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic and timely. Meaning how much, by when and what do I have to do? The realistic part is relative - is it realistic for you?
Success leaves clues. Read books written about what you want to do. Talk to people who have done it.
Visualize your desires as already happening. Make them real in your mind, and really feel how you would feel if you had reached your goals. Do this everyday and make it very real. You are in your dream home - what color are the walls? What does it smell like? How do you feel? Are you relaxed and content?
Act as if. This is my favorite. Act as if you have already accomplished what it is you want to accomplish. You want to be a famous artist, well dress, walk, talk and behave like one. Have you ever heard the saying, "A man should always dress for the job he wants." It's not just a free credit commercial - it's true.
Take action. Nike says 'Just do it', and she would be right. (Nike is actuallty a Goddess). Stop planning, stop talking about it and do something. Even if it something small, this will help you to build momentum. Take steps if you need to, but DO it! Don't be afraid to fail - I know that this is a fear of mine, but I think at one time or another we will all fail, especially if we make BIG goals. This is ok, do it anyway. Fear is a clue that we are about to do something that is breakthrough.
Be willing to work VERY HARD. Know that some things just take a lot of work. You need to be willing to put your time and energy into something. If your goals involve a skill that you are trying to perfect, practice, practice and more practice.
Ask for what you want. Ask those that are able to help you. Ask again if they say no the first time. Ask a new person if the answer is still no, and keep asking until you find someone that says yes. Don't take rejection personally, not everyone is going to say yes all the time.
Look for the feedback around you. Feedback is everywhere and if we pay attention to what it says and make adjustments, than we can start living a better life. Are the people around you happy with the way that you treat them. Ask them, than make changes. Try not to defend yourself, just say ok, and then adjust yourself. Is your home adisorganized mess? If you can never find anything then it might be feedback telling you that it is time to organize the house. Moodiness and irritability might be telling you that four hours of sleep a night just isn't enough.
Caizen - constant and never ending improvement. I like this one too. It is a Japanese word meaning that you make tiny little improvements constantly in your life and keep building. For example, if you never exercise, don't start off by jogging for 45 minutes, instead, walk in place in front of the tv during the commercials of your favorite show.
Be persistent, don't ever give up. Change your approach if you think that it will help, be flexable, but don't stop. Practice the rule of five. I do this everyday and I have seen huge changes in my life. The rule of five just means that whatever it is that you want to do, do five things each day to meet that goal. DO five things, don't write them down, DO it...
Hang out with positive people that build you up, rather than tear you down.
Create a focus journal to help you make improvements. Write all your successes in this journal and then next to each one write the reason you did it, what you could do to make even more progress and what is the very next action you need to take, and then DO it...
Plan your day the night before and then visualize how you want your day to go. Do the thing that you dread the most first thing, this way it is out of the way.
Figure out the things that are irritating to you, write them down and then take action to fix them.
Remain flexable, make sure that if you notice that something really isn't working, that you are willing to change the way you do things until it does work.
Everytime that you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself, write it down and next to it write a nice way to say it to yourself and one action that you can take to make it better. Then (you guessed it) DO it...
Focus on the positive. State your goals in the positive, focus on what you do want rather than what you don't want. Focus on your own strengths and the strengths of those around you. Be grateful for what you do have. Use what you already have to get you to your goals, be resourceful. I believe that you already have everything that you need to succeed, you just have to figure out how to use it.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Real Joy

Real Joy

I think that the state of happiness can be fleeting, if we allow it to be. However, I plan on doing everything that I can to sustain my joy, not false joy that I find in novelties, but real joy. So what is real joy? Where do I find it and how do I keep that feeling once I do find it.
I guess that every person on earth has a vision of what happiness would look like for them. There is one thing that I do know with absolute certainty - happiness is a choice.
I have met some truly miserable people in my life. People who have a wonderful family, a nice house, nice car and good health. Yet these people are miserable. Why? They have made a choice to be miserable - that's why.
I am not saying that people should never be in a bad mood - everyone has their days. I am saying that the vast majority of the time, there are too many things to be happy about. Come on people, life is way to short to hate your job, your house, your neighbor, your cat, the news, your piece of sh!@ car! Quit being a complainer and start being a celebrator!
After much research on the subject (about half of my life actually), there are some things that seem to be consistent in the books I've read and people I've talked to. I have listed them below.
Find out what you like to do.What is it that you enjoy, what is it that you love? Focus on these things for a while. DO them, don't just plan to do them. Actually make a list of things that make you happy, that make you feel alive. Don't worry if they aren't productive or won't help you reach your list of goals. Let the things that bring you joy lead you to more joy. Even if people think it weird, or stupid, or a waste of time. Who cares? They are not you! Stop living your life for others and start living the life you want to live.

Don't wait for something to happen to feel happy. I hear this a lot - "When I get my own house, then I will be happy," When I get promoted, then I will be happy," When we get married, then I will be happy," and so on. I can promise you one thing if you live in this mentality, you will always be waiting. Why would you do this to yourself? You know how you keep yourself busy at the Dr.'s office with a really good book, or knitting or something else you enjoy? Yeah, well keep yourself busy being happy waiting for things to happen that will bring you even more joy.
If it isn't fun - find a way to make it fun. I am the crazy lady with headphones on while I wash the dishes singing loudly out the window for all my neighbors to hear. Ask them, they'll tell you how not so great my singing voice is. However, I enjoy singing and dishes are something that I don't enjoy, so I made them more fun until I get a housekeeper to do them for me. Let's face it, there are things that you will need to do, throughout your life. I always kid around with friends that I hate to pee when I am in the middle of something fun, like painting. I will literally hold it until I do the pee pee dance and then run to the bathroom. It just seems to be such a waste of time to me. Anyway, I have left my idea journal in the bathroom so that I can read over one of my past brilliant ideas and maybe feel inspired to act on one. Sound stupid? Well maybe it is, but I want to live every moment as happy as I can be.
I need to emphasize right now that I do not mean just pretending to be happy, I mean real happiness. This brings me to the next thing that you can try - be grateful. What is in your life that you are happy with. If you can't think of one single thing, then ask yourself, "If I could be thankful for one thing in my life, then what would it be?" This will get the ball rolling, do this everyday. Write it down if you want. I have a journal that is completely full of things that I am grateful for. The reason that this works is it puts your focus more where it should be, on the things that matter in your life. It helps you to make these things even better, and who knows where this will lead you.
Be present. I have a really hard time with this one. I am usually somewhere in the future, either tonight making dinner, or three years from now relaxing by a pool in my enormous yard that I don't have yet. Be here, notice the wonder and beauty around you. It doesn't have to be something big. Even tiny things are beautiful if you take the time to notice them. Personally, I love the way that light effects things, bright sunlight, blue moonlight, it doesn't matter, I think it's lovely. Take that extra second and notice the miracle of life around you. It is not "just a tree." It's a tree that was once a tiny seed and now stands as tall as a three story building, and whose root system extends beneath the earth as far down as the tree is tall. Isn't that AMAZING! It is, and there are other amazing things around you to, just notice them. How about your children who love you with such intensity that they cry when you go away even if it's only for an hour, or your husband who wants to please you so badly that he was willing to give up his T.V. spot just so you could be comfortable? These are personal examples, but they are also personal miracles, these are the beautiful things in my life, what are the beautiful things in yours. NOTICE.
Tell the people that you love how you feel. You only have so many opportunities in your life time to do this. Tell them now, don't wait for a birthday or Christmas. Today is special because they are with you. You don't have to just say "I love you," all the time. That's wonderful too, but tell them in other ways. Let them know they've done something that made you happy, "That was great, you are such a sweet person." Smile at them, for God's sake, even if you're having a bad day. Maybe they're having a great day, who are you to ruin that? Be kind to the people that you love, show them the same courtesies that you would a stranger.
Think beyond yourself, give back to people and animals - and plants for that matter. You don't have to set aside ten hours of your week to volunteer at a nursing home - than don't! But thing outside yourself. Let the person with one item go ahead of you in line when your cart is so full that stuff is falling out. Smile at people and say thank you, listen when people when they are talking to you, and take the two minutes to answer a question thoughtfully. This should be the same for animals too. After studying different species of animals Darwin said that they are our intellectual equals, they just don't communicate the same way. He also believed that they had a wide range of emotions that they experience on a daily basis. I believe this, and I know it is true when I look at my dog. There is no reason to be cruel or indifferent, you have the time to be kind.
Don't forget to take time out for you, to give back to yourself too. You are as important than any King or President ever was, treat yourself nicely. Give yourself a gift and stop putting yourself down. Make yourself feel good. It is your responsibility to do this, no one else can do it for you. Stop blaming others or expecting others to bring you joy. Create your own.
That's it, that's my wisdom for the day. I don't know if it right, but it feels right so I do it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

While growing up in the North Atlanta suburbs as an only child, KBerlin's imagination was always a great source of entertainment. She loved playing outside, exploring wooded areas, creeks and fields or just her neighbors’ back yard. By picking up anything she found to be interesting or necessary, her pockets were always full of tiny treasures, and she was very accustomed to hearing the words "PUT THAT DOWN!"
Now she combines her love for tiny treasures with an appreciation for craftsmanship and detail. As a metalsmith, she creates artisan jewelry from precious metals and gem stones with a focus on original design and solid construction. All of KBerlin's pieces are handcrafted from Argentium sterling silver sheet and wire with some gold, brass or copper occasionally thrown in to add interest and contrast. Her fulfillment comes from creating beautiful jewelry without sacrificing wear-ability, durability or comfort. All of her jewelry is fashioned to be worn, to last, and to be loved. Just as her skills and craftsmanship have developed over time with experience, she realized that her work will always be ever-changing, ever-evolving in a natural progression.
Today, she still lives in the North Atlanta suburbs with her husband, their cat Cricket and two house bunnies, Heidi & Gretchen. In addition to creating her own jewelry designs, she has worked two days a week as a studio assistant to a locally well known jeweler since June of 2006.
She is a member of the following Etsy teams:- GaEtsyTeam- SEUS - SouthEast US Etsy Team- MSIA - MetalsmithsInAction team

Why do you create what you create?I create jewelry, not just for the sake of making jewelry but because I love tiny things with lots of detail and I thoroughly enjoy the process. I have a great appreciation for skill and craftsmanship, so I've dedicated myself and my time to learning the art of metalsmithing.

What other talents do you possess?I play in the dirt. I am an avid gardener and I love to take a plant that someone has neglected and nurse it back to life and watch it flourish. I enjoy working in my yard and my garden. I'm handy! My husband and I have done all of our home repairs and remodeling work.

What is your biggest goal for the year to come? My goal for this year is to find a few more galleries around the country to carry my work. For this reason, I've recently built a new web site: and I've worked diligently to improve my photography skills to create professional image.

Where else can we find your work? You can see my work at Raiford Gallery in Roswell, GA.

Spinning Band Twiddle Ring with gem stones, Argentium Sterling - FREE Shipping

Spirit Box Moon Pendant - FREE Shipping

Spirit Box Sun Pendant with Citrine

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rhode Island local shows and events

I think that one of my major goals for the coming year is to really go to a lot of art events. I have done a few shows in the past, but I never really put my heart into it. I've read tarot at shows with huge success, but then not really done that well with the paintings.
The first local events that I would like to be involved with is the Providence Open Market. I know that there is also one in Boston. This is the 3rd season the market has been open, it is the state's only outdoor market where you sell your handmade artisan goods and fine art, every weekend throughtout the spring, summer and fall.
Another one that I'd like to do nesst year (I missed the application deadlind is the Scituate Art Festival. If you have never gone to this event and you live within 300 miles, you NEED to check this out. There are literally thousands and thousands of people that attend from all over the country, the art and food is amazing. There is every kind of handmade goodie that you can think of on this huge stretch of land. I was a little overwhelmed the first time that I went, but it is a must see. For me, it is a goal to be a vendor at this awsome festival.
The Wickford Art Festival is another event that I am making it my mission to be a vendor at.
From what I have heard, they only accept the 'best of the best' and the fee for a booth is much more than I've ever paid, but this makes even more of a challenge, and I love a challenge.
The Virtu Art Festival in Westerly is another fine art event that I get invited to every year, but never seem to come up with the money.
One show that I have done in years past and enjoyed was Uncommon Art on the Common in Bristol. I plan on doing this one again next year.
I don't normally do shows that are not jurried, but I may check out The Narragansett Art Festival, Narragansett is a nice town, and I know there are many art lovers there.
Although it is not an event, I'd like to join the Providence Art Club. They have many events and I've been told that I should join by more than three different people who've never met, so i'm thinking there is something to it.
Another place that I really want to check out is AS220. It seems very edgy and I may have to do some special pieces, but I want to check into it.
There are other very small shows, such as The Oakland Beach Festival, Apponaug Family Festival, New Bedford Summerfest and Summerfest Providence come to mind. I will probably do tarot readings here as well as sell art.
Being a vendor at these shows means that I am going to be a very busy girl next year. I think that

Something that I really enjoy doing is painting on the mini canvas. It's fun and it is a way that I could sell for a reasonable price. This is not to say that I won't do any large pieces, I definately will, but I think that the minis could do well. If you interested in buying any of the paintings below, simply click on one.

Thursday, May 14, 2009



I am a self improvement junkie. I love books about improving your life, increasing success, being a better mom, better artist etc. I read a lot of these books - a lot. You'd think that I am a famous artist that lives in a big house on a lake with an enormous backyard and is ridiculously happy. This is not the case. I have big dreams, but as of yet, they are still waiting somewhere for me to find them. I think that I know what I need to do.
I don't think that you can take the actions that these books all suggest some of the time, I think that they need to become habits that you do every single day.
I have read this before, but it never truly sank in, until last night. Every single day, no matter what else is going on, I paint, for a least three hours. When I went to Florida on vacation, the paint came with me. When I am not feeling well, the paint comes to bed with me. It is always, every single day, I never have an excuse. Well, last night I stumbled upon one of my first oil paintings I did over eight years ago. This painting took me almost three weeks to complete and it is - crap! I could finish a better painting in less than two hours now.
At the time that I did the crappy painting I was lucky to get in an hour of painting a day and I would go for weeks without painting at all. It wasn't until about two years ago that I started painting everyday. I learned more in the first month of this practice of painting every single day than in the seven years of painting that came before it, and this is not an exaggeration. I recently decided to really challenge myself and complete on painting a day. This has taught me more than I could ever learn from books or years of painting 'every once in a while'.
When I saw the painting, something within me stirred. I literraly felt a chill of realization, if I could improve my skills this much, just from daily self discipline - than what else could I improve?
I have read it a dozen times, - form better habits, it takes 22 days to form a new habit etc. etc., but I never really heard it.
The other thing that I noticed is that at first, when I started painting everyday, it was an tremendous exercise of will, I had to really force myself. It only took about two weeks for it to feel like food, if I didn't start by the afternoon, I was starving for it.
I have a mission now that I am giving myself, to form better habits. Where do I want to be in ten years from now, and what new habits do I need to develop in order to get there?
I don't know all of them, but I think that some universal success habits will really help me. They are:
* Writing down my specific and measurable goals down and reading them everyday.
* Networking more, with people in my field and outside of my field.
* Being grateful for what I already have.
* Doing the most important things, and saying no to the unimportant things.
* Taking action on my ideas. I have so many that I write down in a notebook, but I have yet to do anything about them.
* Figure out what is working, and what is not, and focus my efforts on what is working.
* Visualization. Research has shown how incredibly effective visualizing your goal as if you've already reached it can be.
* Reading, attending workshops or otherwise learning about my field.
* Practice, practice, practice and practice some more.
* Know what I want, exactly what I really want.
* Don't give up, keep taking action, notice what is working and do it, stop doing what isn't working and keep on taking action. I heard someone once say that if you find that you are in a rut, change one thing to it's opposite. If you find that you aren't selling online, sell off the computer. Go to a store and ask if they sell on consignment, be a vendor at a show, or have your own show - it can't hurt.
* Feel the fear and do it anyway. I love this saying. If no one did what they were afraid to do, or what they were apprehensive about, there would be very few successful people in the world. Not many people would stand out.
I'm still working on a way to make these things every day habits. I think that keeping a planner with a to do list in it and crossing out the unimportant things will help me to keep my focus. I was also thinking of having a short survey that my customers could take so I could figure out what is working and what isn't working. I would give them a discount for taking it ofcourse. There are many steps that I could take to incorporate better habits into my life.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Begining of a Mermaid painting step by step

The Begining of a Mermaid painting

I worked on the sketch before I got to the point that I felt comfortable trasferring it onto the surface. It is very important to make sure that your sketch is exactly the way that you want it before you transfer it onto the surface you will be using. I spent a full day getting the sketch just right. It is my opinion that a great painting starts with a great drawing. To me, this doesn't mean a ton of detail, you can see that my drawing is not that detailed. I will add detail with paint as the last thing that I do. By "great drawing" I mean good composition, good lines, proportion and design.
I use both canvas and gessoed art board for my surfaces. For this project I used gessoed art board. I like the surface to be ultra smooth, so I sand it down with very fine sand paper until it feels like porceline.

I did several sketches and sometimes there are parts that I like of one and I want to combine it with a part from another etc. This one I like the body and the baby, but not the head - so I removed it. There is not law about decapitation in the art world, I don't even feel guilty. So I took her head off and replaced it with another head. I suggest you do several sketches, invest in some tape, and do this with your sketches. It's much easier than resketching over and over.

Once the head is taped on, I tape the sketch to some graphite paper (available at any art or craft store - for a hefty price) and then taped the entire thing to the art board. Make sure that it is secure and won't slip around - this can be disastrous.

Now you simply redraw the skecth. Make sure that you cover every line. Don't be afraid to press hard, we're going to cover any graphite smudges. I use a colored pen, because pencil just doesn't cut it, and it's much easier to see which lines I went over already .

This is my happy spongepaint dude. My son calls him and all other sponges spongebob. Bob is ready to get some work done. I use a sponge because the blotting is much less likely to smear the sketch than painting is.

I blot, lightly. You want to be able to see the sketch. I use acrylic paint for this because it dries faster. Actually, to cut costs, I use the cheap craft acrylic paints for this. It is only the first layer in the painting, later layers I will use oil paint

So now the sketch is covered lightly in acrylic craft paint. This ensures that the later layers of paint will not smudge the sketch. The graphite can also get into your paint and really change the color - we don't want that.

I did blue because there is going to be a lot of blue in this painting, it just makes life easier later on. Think before you apply this base color, what is the predominant color of the painting?


Now we wait about an hour for it to dry. Acrylic dries very quickly, so it may be done before this, but I like to be safe.
Ithen paint with midnight blue the outline of the tail. There is no reason I start here, it just seemed like a good place to begin.

After I did the entire tail this way, I decided it wasn't dark enough, so I added some black.

I then painted the floor of the ocean. i just did some greyish blue. As you get further back toward the horizon, you want to add more and more blue and make it lighter and lighter to macth the color of the sky, or in this case the water. You also want to make sure that objects further away are a little blurry, with less and less detail, they should also get more blue as the get further away.

I then painted the tail, and as it so often happens to me, I got so into it that I forgot to take photos of the stages of the tail. Basically I just painted the two tails slightly different shades of green. I then added a little dark blue on the shadowed side and some black as the shadows got darker. This is what I have so far. For the next week I will be working on this painting and blogging my progress and showing you how I did it. I have lots of little things that I have learned to make the painting proccess a little easier, so be sure to check back.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Serpent's Dance

I can't even describe how much I LOVE this jewelry. It is gorgeous. I don't wear jewelry that much, but I would treasure every piece in this store. The name of the store is The Serpent's Dance, and it is owned by the ver talented Amber Justice. Go visit her beautiful jewelry store.

Amazonite Spiral Hair Stick by Serpent's Dance Designs

Amazonite Spiral Hair Stick by Serpent's Dance Designs

Crazy Lace Necklace by Serpent's Dance Designs

Crazy Lace Necklace

Wayfarer Cat Necklace by Serpent's Dance Designs

Wayfarer Cat Necklace

Amber Justice I have been making jewelry since I was old enough to put beads on a string. She loves beads. You can find them everywhere in her house. In boxes, in drawers, on shelves, in her fiance's shoes, in the vacuum she decided to start sharing her love of sparkly things with the general public a few years ago. She has sold locally, on ebay, through various internet forums, and now here on Etsy. Her work is heavily influenced by fairy tales, mythology, history, and nature. She loves working with vivid colors and interesting textures.She works mainly in silver and copper. Her leather corded necklaces are her way of offering intricate wirework without the hefty price tag that a necklace done completely in wirework and gemstones would carry. Amber lives in a fairly rural part of Kentucky with her fiance and her pet goat, Biscuit.

Look for her silver and leather necklaces soon. She'll be doing a limited run of those to test the market. If successful, I'll offer them with greater frequency.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I have completed my paintings #13 and #14. Last night I started on a portrait I was commissioned to do, so I didin't get a chance to complete a painting. Priorities, you know. Anyway, these are the paintings from Friday and Saturday night.

The Native Americans believed that the fox was a trickster. He is a quick-thinking and clever fellow. He was wise and cunning, but at the same time ammusing and fun. He was able to adapt to his environment and always had a strategy to not only survive the harshness that mother nature can dish out - but thrive.

The sunflower symbolizes vitality and health as well as an ability to experience joy, no matter what is going on around you. I love the sunflower because it is always keeping it's head toward the sun. This flower knows where to keep it's attention in order to get the most out of life.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I cam across a very cute little shop. I am always looking for pretty things to put into my hair and my daughter's hair. Tea of Sugar Lotus Designs creates art to be worn in your hair.
She's drawn to vintage inspired designs, flowers, and delicate things. I'm inspired by textures, shininess, touch, and color. Tea is a writer, blogger, reader, world traveler, compulsive recycler, and computer geek. When you put all those things together this shop is what happens!- You should go check her hair accessories out at Sugar Lotus Designs.

A Little Bit of Romance - 1 Delicate Ivory Lace Rose Hair Pin - Large Size

Three Roses - Pink and Gray Headband

Enchanted Forest - Clematis and Foxglove Hair Clip

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Paintings #10 and #11

A Fantasy World
These are two new peices that I have completed in the past two days. I feel like they both give us a little glimpse into a vast and beautiful world where all things imaginary live. Especially the tree, I want to go there and sit for a while.

Maybe it's just because I'm feeling the need to escape for a little while. Or maybe I just need a break in my routine. Either way, they are for sale on etsy: