Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Collected & 2012 Began - Part 3

Cole Here - Metal work done.  Now the rubber meets the road.  I am writing this in hopes that it happens in my own space.  "do what I blog, not what I do"

Tackling the bags of supply's a jumble after the Christmas dash.  Are any of you like me an in the insane rush to get handmade commissions & gifts made you now have no idea where your supply's actually are.  Cultivate is my word for my work in 2012 but "EVERY THING IN IT'S PLACE is my phrase for my home in 2012 (& Yes my studio is in my home... so no excuses).

I went out with my art sisters for holiday lunch this week and everyone was saying that they are the only ones who go into their studio so that is where the christmas presents are stored, wrapping, and in general piles.  Except for Sister Darcie - who let's just say - is a super hero of organization.  She has a small but mighty studio and keeps it neat.... I need to work on it!

So step one - WADE IN.... survey, breath and set a 15 minute timer.  Garbage bag in hand, and basket of doesn't belong here in the corner & goodwill bag in the other corner.  Start by cleaning out a path & table work area.

Step Two - Continuing to work in 15 minute incraments until you need a break, drink or just to sit down....

Step Three - keep your goals in mind.  Brenda Dayne from Cast On podcast (yes - I do not knit but I listen to a knitting podcast - I love her what can I say)  does an "annual airing of the stash"  I love this idea.  What do you really have, what can you make?  Try taking the first three month challenge.

  • Challenge - Do not enter a craft supply store from Jan - March.  Works completely from your stash.  
  • Air your stash
  • Make project bags where you can gather all you need for a certain craft.  
  • I make supply suitcases - one for felting, one for altered book journaling,
Tomorrow - Keep working on the studio!

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Collected & 2012 Began - Part 2

Cole Here - Now you have written down your UFO's, Successes & Learning you want to hold onto... and set free the projects that you never need to see again.  Today is looking 2012 beginnings and direction.

Five Medium Focus - I am one of those artists who just will never be able to pick and stick with a medium... so I pick five each year to stick with for that year.  This helps me limit my range and learn and work more deeply in these arena's.  Just from a stuff management perspective - I don't go shopping and have random stuff end up in my cart as much.  And I can put away supply's in deep freeze storage if I know they are not my focus that year.

  • What are your five mediums?  Mine are acrylic painting (stick), Mixed media collage (stick), Rug Hooking (Stick), Sewing & Quilting (new to me), art journaling (new to me)
Project Focus - What projects are you going to attempt.  I try and list all the idea's I would like to fit it.  Last year I had twelve that fit into each month.  I finished 10 of 12 and one is left in UFO's and the other has been set free from 2011.
  • What is your project focus?  A few of mine are Encrusted Baby Quilt (art quilt), Jenni's Sign (acrylic commission), Susan's pillows & painting Commission (rug hooking & pillow), Judy's Dog Flower Commission UFO (stained glass - because it is a ufo)
Learning Focus - What do you want to learn this year.  A magazine subscription you just must have, classes you always wanted to take?  I have often related my obsession with the library to a masters degree.  With as much learning as I do each year for free I feel like am working my way through an 'Handcrafted Masters'
  • What is your learning focus this year?  Quilting, Quilting, Quilting for me - I am working on getting a new sewing machine and would love to USE every feature on the machine in the first year.  I am hoping to really learn what it can do!
Marketing & professional Focus - Shows you want to enter, blogs you want to start, stores or galleries you want to hang in.  Where is your focus?  How are you going to make the time for marketing?  
  • Shows I want to focus on - 
  • Blog Plan for 2012 - at least once a week for the year.
  • Podcast ???
  • Stores & Galleries - 
  • Submissions - 
  • Taxes & Billing - Smash taking over in 2012 Awesome!
Tomorrow - Tackling the studio!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Collected & 2012 Began - Part 1

Cole Here - I am a self-confessed planner.  I love to look back and collect those things I loved about the last year & begin the new year with a vision-casting session for myself.  This is the start of a multi-part series on refocusing your art in 2012

I have spent a lot of time thinking, praying and talking through my art goals.  I believe it is one of the reasons I am as productive as I am.  Smash (hubby) said something to me this year that helped me focus - "climb up a coconut tree every so often and see if you are still going in the direction you chose, then hit the ground and go powerfully in that direction!"

  • UFO's - to continue, to set free or to return to stash as a cuttable piece.  Let it go with grace!
  • Successes - I love to Collect all my art successes on one journal page - it always makes me feel great.
  • Learning I want to continue to incorporate into my work - do you have techniques that you just plane forget to do, even though you love it?  I have a technique page in the back of my art journal that I fill with successful techniques.  Just to keep track of them. I flip to it when I am stuck on a painting.
  • I have a few learning binders where I put articles I want to keep.  I also try to flip through and purge these at this time.

More tomorrow.... Squirt is up!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Updated Etsy Shop

Cole here-  Finally updated my etsy store - Check it out!  We have been working so hard this season and enjoying some great success.  Off to paint more... only three commissions and six gifts left to make before the big day!  Holiday Cheers!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Belly Casting - Oh how I love it!

Cole here -
Belly Casting is a rare and genuine way to memorialize an especially precious time in life.  Don in the last weeks of pregnancy, I cast your belly , bust and belly or bust, belly and sholdes for a forever sculpture.  Display in a nursing corner, in your bedroom or make a unique bowl that you know the true shape of.

I have heard of women using theirs to hold all the precious bits from the first weeks of the babies life as a time capsule.  The cloths they came home in, pictures & notes from friends.  We love our belly (hubby loves looking at it and remembering all we went through)... and our little one loves to hear the story about when Momma's belly had Squirt inside!

Contact me if you would like this special item as part of your birth experience -

Friday, December 9, 2011

From the Library - Elm Creek Quilt Series

Cole Here-   I am an audio book reader!  I love that I can craft, paint and drive and still read!  I am also cheap... so most of the time my audio books come from my library.  I have been listening to the Elm Creek Quilt series for about two years.  I just finished The Union Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini.  It is the 17th book in the series.  I absolutely loved this book.  Here is Jennifer's website  The Union Quilters takes place during the Civil war and is an interesting account of how northern women got through this time in American history.  I cried four times during this book and was surprised by my own response. 
My favorite character is Gerda!  Thank you Jennifer for years of entertainment and being an inspiration for great business marketing- books, fabric, patterns & tours.  If you have any idea's for other crafty reads please let me know.    

I started with The Christmas Quilt and wish I had started at the beginning of the series... I love to sew but have yet to make a quilt.  I love these books because they combine my love of all women's handiwork and the history that is stitched into each of her stories.  I would recommend you begin at the beginning of the series - Here is info pulled from Jennifer's site about how to read the series -

Should I read the Elm Creek Quilts novels in the order you wrote them? If I read the Elm Creek Quilts novels out of order, will I still be able to understand them?

If you want to read the books in the order I wrote them, read them in the order listed above. However, since I wasn't planning to write a series, I have written each book so that it stands alone. On my book tour, I often hear longtime fans tell new readers that the books should be read in the order I wrote them, but other readers have told me that they have read the books out of order and were able to follow everything just fine. Ultimately it's up to the individual reader. Please note, however, that later books inevitably give away events that occurred in previous books. If you would like to read the books in something approximating chronological order, please note the following:
  • The Christmas Quilt takes place in the interim between The Quilter's Apprentice andRound Robin.
  • The Sugar Camp Quilt is set in 1849-1850, so it takes place before the events chronicled in Gerda's memoir in The Runaway Quilt.
  • The Quilter's Homecoming is set mainly in 1925, but it branches off from a storyline introduced in The Christmas Quilt.
  • The New Year's Quilt immediately follows The Quilter's Legacy.
  • The Lost Quilter begins in 1859 immediately following the events chronicled in Gerda's memoir in The Runaway Quilt.
  • A Quilter's Holiday takes place while Bonnie is in Hawaii in The Aloha Quilt.
  • The Union Quilters begins in 1861 and runs mostly concurrently with The Lost Quilter.
  • The Wedding Quilt takes place after A Quilter's Holiday and The Aloha Quilt, with flash forwards to the year 2028.
The Union Quilters, The Lost QuilterThe Sugar Camp Quilt, and The Quilter's Homecoming work particularly well as stand-alone novels and can be enjoyed as your first Elm Creek Quilts novel or at any point in the series.