Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Love Fabric

I do.  Love it.  The patterns, texture, the color, the feel of it in my hand, the way it can be manipulated and on and on.  I collected fabric even when I didn't know exactly what I would do with it.  I folded it and put in the cupboard.  And now finally I've taken all the fabric out of the cupboard and moved it into my studio as I watch my journey unfold and take me down this fabric path I never envisioned. 

It started I think this past summer when I took some classes from my sweet friend JoAnna of Moss Hill Studio.  Then it picked up speed after joining KC Willis at her Collage Camp.  I found myself less afraid of working with fabric, realizing I could manipulate it in ways I hadn't been sure about.  Feeling looser with it.  Un-intimidated.  And so I play with it and try this and that.  Some things work, some don't, it's all good.  Because if you don't make mistakes and fail at some things however will you succeed at others.  We learn by our mistakes is my philosophy. 

And although I have done my best to avoid it, later, when the weather stays warmer longer I have decided I will  set up a dye station on the back porch and learn about dyeing fabrics.  I didn't want to, didn't need another learning curve, but the colors I see people achieve with hand dying have seduced me.

Here is my latest work.  What I find interesting is that no where on this Composition Notebook Journal is there a vintage image of a pretty girl.   Unusual for me.  :-)  But I love the way this turned out..  I am playing with free machine embroidery and simply doodled with it and feel it is playful and looser than my normal style. 

I have it now listed in my Etsy store.
Happy Wednesday!

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Fun New Embellishments for Spring Projects!

I am not a jeweler but I like to use pieces that a jewelry maker might use in their jewelry creations in my own mixed media work. Nothing makes me happier than mixing it all up and I love adding metal to my art work. Which is one of the reasons I love mixed media! So when I buy for the shop, I love to find items I know I would personally use and offer them to you. Here are a few of the new products I just added to Shabby Cottage Studio. My ideas are already taking flight with the possibilities!  So check out our What's New page and see where the possibilities take you

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kitchen Makeover update

Oh goodness but am I happy!  All the cabinet painting Mr. Shabby has been doing on our "stove side" of the kitchen this winter finally got done which meant installation was the next step, followed by adding the countertop, stove and floor.  So this week the bottom cabinets went in, the countertop arrived and a hole was cut for the cooktop.  Today the gas man is here to do the hook up and we have started the floor laying process.  So I thought I would share some pictures.

Cabinets installed.  All the bottom cabinets are actually pull out drawers.

Counter and cooktop.  An above the stove microwave still has to be installed and the old one will go away.  That shiny spot on the wall is a piece of sheet metal to cover the old wood burning stove pipe hole...there is a brick chimney behind that part of the wall.

This is the ugly old linoleum that never looked clean and is probably from  the 60's and is glued to the old wood floor.  We weren't about to take that mess up.

So this is the new wood floor we are starting to lay today. 

You might find this interesting.  I thought it was creative. ;-)
There is a doorway leading from the kitchen to the hall and a bedroom.  The problem was the door opened into the kitchen, making the wall behind it useless and visually using up almost 3 feet of space. And there is a jut out on that wall for some duct work going upstairs. We really needed to get rid of that door, yet we need a door during the winter so we can close off the hallway to save all the heat from going upstairs.

Then I found a solution in a magazine.  One of those mechanisms for barn doors to slide! 
So Mr Shabby installed one, we removed the old solid wood door and replaced it with one of the old dining room French doors we had removed to open up the dining room.  Cool huh?  And the other cool thing is it allowed us to put in a shallow pantry on the wall that once was useless.

It is very shallow, about 8" deep on top and 12" on the bottom.  Which suits me fine because I have things pretty much where I can see them and don't have to do a lot of shuffling.  Fake cabinets will go above it to the ceiling to finish the whole thing off but we have to wait until he floor is installed to deal with a height issue.

This one is great for all my spices and little cans and bottles.  And it hides the ugly jut out on the wall.

And this one is for canned goods above and taller items below.  Plus the shelves on the bottom pull out.  The toaster will move and this area will then become Mr. Shabby's "coffee bar" and the drawer above it holds all the coffee "stuff" Mr. Shabby uses. (I am not a coffee drinker.)

 Let's see, what's left...tiling backsplashes, new ceiling, custom island Mr. Shabby will build, very upper upper cabinets installed that will be for display only.  If you recall we have 10 foot ceilings and I'm getting to old to get on a dang ladder to get to a cupboard for something.  So absolutely display only. LOL  And I think that's it and then the kitchen will be done.

So now you can see why I'm so happy! It's been a long haul but I can see the light at the end of tunnel on this whole kitchen makeover process. 
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Creating Lemonade

We've all heard the saying that when you are given lemons, make lemonade right?!  Well that is what happened with my latest book creation.  This book started out, and was supposed to be, a concertina style book, you know, opens like an accordion.  I used card stock to make the template in order to get it long enough and then I added 140lb cold pressed watercolor paper for the actual pages to cover the card stock.

Once it was all put together I began to happily play with paint, spraying, wiping, spritzing, know the drill.  I (as usual) was going for something looking a bit old and vintage and was happy with how the colors were coming together.  Then I noticed something.   At each "seam" between the watercolor pages, the card stock was falling apart under my happy hands manipulations!  I studied on it for a bit and realized it just wasn't going to work as I imagined.  So I tore all the pages apart and decided that since I had also been wanting to make a book using the vintage covers of an old French text book I had, now was the time!  Here are some images of my lemonade.

Close up of cover


A few of the inside pages
I left room on every other set of pages for whoever purchases this book to add some journaling and some of their own images and added a few pockets with tags that can be removed and replaced with whatever.  Does that make this an interactive book?

Now listed in my Etsy store. SOLD Thank you!
Have a marvelous weekend everyone! 

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Etiquette and manners are Important

I had an experience this weekend that left me thinking very much about manners and etiquette.  I'm a pretty laid back and easy going kind of woman.  Don't get me wrong...I have a temper (I am after all a Taurus) and can use it to my advantage and in self defense when necessary.  But  I don't like a lot of struggle, strife or drama.  Having been young and foolish I've been there, done that, it's not pretty.  For the first time ever in all my flea market jaunts I had a vendor verbally accost me this past weekend and I'm still not sure why.  I tend to think that maybe after he quoted me a price on an item and I put it back as I didn't want to spend that kind of money, it put him into defensive mode and he went on the attack.  As though maybe my saying, oh, okay and putting the item back somehow offended him.  It infuriated me to be treated like this and I knew I didn't deserve it but I maintained my cool (meaning I didn't open my mouth and let out what I would have liked to say) and walked away.  But it put a bit of a damper on my usual excitement of being at one of my favorite flea markets.

As a businesswoman I know that I have never and would never, talk to a customer as did this man.  I like to think that my mother raised me well and that I have good manners.  And I try to treat people as I myself would like to be treated.  Unfortunately one of my buttons that is easily pushed is mannerless people. 

 What is all this leading up to you ask?  Well I think that it is just as important to have manners on the internet as it is in real life.  When you are intereacting with someone online it is important to remember that there is a real person with feelings at the end of that email, or that forum or group comment.  Sadly I have visited some forums, heard stories from other artists and even  been on the receiving end of a couple emails, that for all purposes contained comments that were rude, mannerless and totally uncalled for.  I am reprinting a post that Pam wrote about making an online class a success for the attendee and includes having manners and good etiquette.  I thought she made good and valid points that we all need to remember. 

Reprinted with Permission by Pam Carriker

Making an online class a successful experience requires effort from both the instructor and the student. This form of learning is becoming ever more popular because it allows a more affordable and doable opportunity to learn with a variety of artists from the comfort of your own home when it’s convenient in your schedule. That being said, it is different than taking a live workshop. You may have to wait a bit for an answer to a question as the instructors can’t monitor the computer 24/7, but you also have the advantage of going back over materials as often as you like. With a live venue you have one shot to get the materials and then you’re on your own. Weigh the pros and the cons for yourself to see what’s a better fit for you.

Here are some tips to help make your experience more rewarding to you and those participating with you.

1. Choose a class from an artist whose work you are drawn to. Read the class description, check out the supply list, ask other attendees for feedback, and if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

2. Go into the class with an open mind and absorb the materials with an intent to learn the techniques and apply them to your style of art. In general classes aren’t a ‘paint by number’ deal. They are for gaining new tools to implement in your own creative way. A class is a jumping off point, not the end of the road.

3. Remember that every teacher has their own style of teaching. Not every class will be a fit for every participant. If you find a teachers style isn’t a fit for you, you may want to find a different teacher for your next experience. It’s ok, we all learn differently.

4. Be courteous. Just because there is no face to face interaction, what you say and do does affect other people. Negativity hampers creativity.

5. If you do find you have a problem direct it to the teacher first. Taking it to the class as a whole does not benefit anyone and can cause a negative atmosphere that no one signed up for. Everyone comes to class with the intent to learn and have fun. Don’t ruin that for others. I don’t know of any artists who teach that wouldn’t bend over backwards to help one of their participants get the most out of their workshop.

6. Remember that as instructors we work very hard to pull together classes that are informative and teach our techniques in the best way we are able. We aren’t perfect but are perfectly willing to share our creative process with others. Most of us were asked to share our techniques and it makes us a bit vulnerable to put them out there. It’s not just about money, we share from our creative hearts and when we see others grow artistically and go forward with more confidence that’s the true reward.
7. Treat others like you would like to be treated. Simple but true:-)
live art at the speed of life,

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