Monday, June 28, 2010

drawings and a new beginning

i am so excited that i have a new art form driving me these days, i seriously can't stop creating! this is a sneak peak of my botanical drawings that will be available in my etsy shop shortly. i still have some work to do on them - possibly sketch faux frames for each piece, possibly add in some lady bugs or beetles, possibly not :)

this is seriously a huge step for me. for years, i have veered on the crafting side of art. whether it be making cards, sewing aprons or building lamps. i have always used materials that someone else dreamed up and produced. now, these illustrations are mine, all mine, entirely created by me with a little help from nature. and guess what - it feels good to finally be putting a little bit of me out there.

another positive is that i am only 7 illustrations away from my dream of a calendar. now, that makes me smile!

Friday, June 25, 2010

southern living and a lifestyle

atlanta is lucky enough to be home to the 2010 southern living house. and i am even luckier that it is a few minutes from my house.

i headed over today, paid my $10 entry fee and began my climb to the 4th floor. this house was so gorgeous, especially it's outdoor living spaces. unfortunately, they did not allow any photography inside. i guess they want readers of their magazine to be surprised when it is featured in a few months - go figure :)

the house is a sea of blue and green with tons of rustic elements thrown in. my favorite parts were sliding barn doors in the basement and the large animal wall illustrations in the nursery.

the property includes a lake to be shared with the other townhouse units, plus a cleverly disguised outhouse!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

cakes and craziness

just stopping by to say hi. we have had a few birthdays lately and some general craziness of schedules, along with much needed pool time. with all that is going on, i am finding it very hard to get the things that i have to do, done. but after all, isn't that what summer is for???

Monday, June 21, 2010

charleston and a walk

the last morning of our trip was spent walking through charleston with my ttv camera. this time around, i didn't care about shopping or visiting the "tourist" areas. i only wanted to walk and capture the beauty of the historic town which for me lies in it's architecture.

i loved this garage structure which has roots in religious architecture.

i couldn't resist the delicate white flowers against this pale blue house.

 wrought iron is everywhere!

and to finish off my walk, a pavilion in battery park. kind of made me want to jump in and start singing "sound of music" style.

folly beach and a new friend

last thusday, my better half and i headed to folly beach, located a few miles from charleston, sc. my excitement could barely be contained because we were leaving the munchkins at home (supervised, of course)! yippee. not that i don't like family vacations, but sometimes you need to get away from the bickering.

a friend of ours got married at the beach on friday and we took a few extra days to soak in some sun on the beach. we even met a new friend...

this little guy was just hanging out on the beach. not skittish at all, actually more frozen in fear at all the camera flashes going off.

i had so much time to sit in my own mind and dream up wonderful projects. i have decided to move forward with the botanical illustrations i have been dabbling in. i have some ideas up my sleeves which include typography, flowers and a slew of products. with a bit of luck, you will be seeing some creations very soon!

i will also be back tomorrow with some lovely shots of charleston. hands down, the best town on the east coast in my opinion ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

books and the unwritten rule

on one of my yard sale excursions, i found this sweet children's poem book, titled "in the middle of the trees". what is it about a children's book that brings a sweeping wave of nostalgia? i know some people can toss them aside immediately, but i always need a bit of time to sit and savor.

the entire book is illustrated with black and hunter green ink. i really, really, really want to cut this book up and draw flowers and vines weaving around the words. i am thinking with colored pencils in very soft pastels. something that compliments the current illustration, not competes with it. but...

my very law abiding self feels like i am creating a crime. i know, i know, not a true send me to jail crime, but i think i will feel really guilty if i do, do it. i have drilled into the munckins heads that books need to be respected and should not to be thrown around or stepped on. so how can i turn around and cut up and draw on a book. i need to keep telling myself that it will be a sweet collaboration and to get over it, right???

Thursday, June 17, 2010

totes and birthdays

my mom's birthday was a few weeks ago, so i made sure to have a birthday surprise when she flew into town yesterday. her dinosaur of a sewing machine decided not to wind bobbin thread anymore, so i bought her one of those handy separate winders, plus some other sewing tools i find indispensable. one such tool is a magnetic pin holder - really wonder how i lived without one of these for so long.

to contain these items, i decided to make her alicia paulson's "jane market bag". the bag's tutorial is so very easy to follow and it came together in one short evening. i used a pillow case for the floral sides and the lime green pocket front. you can see that i left the pillowcase hem on the pocket front for extra interest. the only addition i made to the pattern was to add an extra pinch stitch along the bottom of both front panels. this squared off the bag nicely.

i think now, i might make a few of these as library bags for the munchkins. maybe out of the shirting fabric i am drowning in over here thanks to a generous friend.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

styling and lighting

isn't it funny how procrastination just snowballs? playing around with different styling for my etsy products has been on my to do list forever. the next thing i know, it is summer break and i feel like i need to push it off even more now that the munchkins are home and want to go swimming every day! but today, i forced myself, really forced myself to attempt new photographs and i am pretty happy with the outcome. yes, the image needs to be crisper, and the color needs to be a bit whiter, but all in all, i think it is descriptive and a nice composition. the part i love is how the lit light bulb blows out the background and you don't see any lines of the bulb at all.

i will most likely use my new light tent to take the detail shots, but i wanted to see how they would look on the blue table as well.

check list items:
  1. learn to shoot in manual mode so i can enable the white balance corrector on my camera.
  2. add extra lighting behind photograph.
  3. shoot tons and tons of my items so i can post them in the shop and send them on to happy homes!
what do you think? is this an appealing way to stylize my lamps. should i add some reading glasses or something to the photo?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

chalk and ingenuity

after 3 years, i can finally say that my kitchen remodel is complete! i finished this chalkboard wall a couple of days ago and i can't stop staring at it. does that ever happen to you? you finish a project and can't believe how perfectly it turned out that you just want to sit and stare?

the project began with this amazing vintage ice cream sign. i picked it up at a barn sale after i fell completely in love. it is double sided and definitely the real deal - if you measure age by the amount of rust, that is :) the problem is that the sign doesn't quite fill up the horizontal wall space. to compensate for this, i taped out a rectangle behind the sign to fill with chalkboard paint. i knew i didn't like the corners the way they were, i wanted a more custom look, so...

i took a piece of adhesive backed scrapbook paper, and hole punched a large circle out of it. then i took the negative space and cut it into quadrants and adhered them to the corners of my large rectangle. this was the perfect solution to get a custom look.

want a trick to get a perfectly straight paint line when you pull off the tape??? all you have to do is paint one coat of your base wall color over the tape. this way, any paint that leaks below the tape, will be the same as your overall wall color, so you won't even notice the leaks. easy!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

eggs and wonder

my husband was cutting down a huge eyesore of an overgrown bush in our front yard yesterday and found this sweet little birds nest. i am so sad to think that when we were plotting our landscaping, we were unknowingly plotting the demise of their safe little place in this world.

of course the munchkins had to come running out of the house to ooh and awe over the nest for a bit, but i must admit i was right behind them.

what is it about birds nests that make people come running? i like to think that it is the wonder of it all. the wonder that something is being formed at this very moment right inside those tiny blue shells.

there might be a metaphor in this post somewhere about my little homegrown craft business, but i am too tired right now to connect the dots :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

friends and business

recently, i have formed a great little safety net of artistic friends around me. there is a painter, a jewelry designer, a photographer, and me, kind of an all-around-crafter (in a good way). a huge road block about working from home is the lack of creative input and interaction, and we all have been feeling it. to fix this dilemma, we decided to start having monthly "business meetings" and let me tell you, the ideas flying around the room are indispensable. today was our second meeting and the topic was our blogs. each one of us is in a different stage of our artistic career path and we all have ideas and input on different topics. i am kind of the tech geek and bring my design skills to layout. another is great at integrating social media such as twitter and facebook into their blogs. and it goes on from there. every person has invaluable input that we never would never have thought of as individuals. it is an atmosphere free of competition and judging and i just love the energy!

do you ever feel challenged and unsure about what products you are putting out into the world? if so, focus on creative friends around you, because i bet they are feeling the same way. try getting together once a month and only talk about your art - no kid chatter, no recipe chatter, only art. you will be amazed how many business building items creep onto your to-do list once you leave!

Friday, June 4, 2010

lighting and lamps

i have a confession to make... i hate photographing my work for etsy. i know, i know, hate is a strong word, but it is such a road block on my way to etsy success that it drives me crazy!

i am a freelance graphic designer by day, i was an art director at an ad agency for years, i can take beautiful photos of my kids, but when it comes to product photography, i am at a loss. lighting is my problem, i can stage a shot and crop it perfectly, but the lighting is always off. it is possible to photoshop good lighting in, but i am a stickler wanting my photos to represent my product colors exactly. when you fix one thing in photoshop, often another color will skew. it just isn't my thing to use filters and such with my product shots. is it too much to ask that a photo be perfectly lit when i download it from the camera???

hopefully all my problems are about to change. this light tent arrived in the mail yesterday and i took it for a spin with the photo above. i need to iron out some of the wrinkles, literally, and then hopefully get some pointers from my photo extraordinaire friend. wink, wink! i need to get a system in place so i can shoot my products assembly line style and it won't seem like such a daunting task.

on a lighter note, what do you all think about this sweet lamp base that i painted buttercup yellow? i can't get enough of the asian inspired fish which hold up the base.


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