Thursday, April 29, 2010

Changes, Day 1

So today officially marks Day 1 of Operation Change.  I got up with my husband this morning at the hellishly early time of 6:30 (!), and after doing all the required measurements (upper right arm, lower abdomen, quick step on the scale, etc.) I am now digesting my morning meal replacement "shake."  These are my thoughts so far: 
1) I had no idea my thighs were the same circumference as my husband's.  NOT acceptable! 
2) Reminding yourself that you are overweight is that much more depressing when you're cold, tired, and hungry. 
3) I thought I liked shakes.  I have protein shakes all the time, but I've never made one with just water.  And this is why.  Frothy protein water is not what my tummy wants at 7am. 
4) I have very little will power.  Today I woke up to several inches of snow.  Yes, that is correct, today is April 29, and there's snow!  What the F!?  So any thoughts of getting stuff done in the studio were instantly replaced with thoughts of going back to bed and hibernating til the sun comes out.  I was then asked, "Don't you have any willpower?"  Hmmm... why, because all I want to do is sleep and sleep and be warm and cozy?  No, no I don't.

Yet here I am.  In lieu of going back to bed, which I am still considering, I am sitting here typing away.  And so far this has taken a decent amount of willpower.  Honestly if today had been sunny it might have been an easier choice.  But this winter weather has me wanting to sleep so badly, and I am not one to fore go sleep.  Plus, we stayed up til 1am last night watching the NBA Playoffs (Go Nuggets!), so I got even less sleep than normal.  All 11 days of Operation Change I predict to be brutal.

So now I have to make a crucial decision... do I go back to sleep, be warm, have wonderful, restful dreams and wake up refreshed?  Or do I stay up, get work done, and be productive?  I am not good at making these kinds of tough decisions.  I know I will thank myself later for working in the studio, but it's cold, I'm tired... gah.  Stay tuned to find out who wins, in The Bed vs. The Studio!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Woo hoo!

I have a new design!  And it feels good.  Not that I don't love what I've been making, but there's something magical about change.  I will be premiering it at the Bellvue Store Art Gallery Show on May 7th, so if you are in the market for style, stop by!  It's a little fancier than my other designs, and that's exciting for me.  Hello sophisticated pleats!  I don't want to spoil it, so you'll just have to come by the event and get a peek!

Also, as a side note, and this may seem way out of left field (left field, right?  I'm not a baseball fan), but I am overweight.  Actually, since getting married last September, I am not just overweight, but clinically (sadly, depressingly, actually surprisingly) obese.  Which is not how I wish to stay, or really how I ever thought I would be.  That said, my hubby and I are going doing a cleanse and food-overhaul.  I think I will keep you all updated on this.  I'm hoping it will be a start of a healthier life for us both, and I also want to share what I find out about the products we'll be using (yes, it's a program with shakes and whatnot, but it was recommended by our chiropractor, so what the heck) and what diet changes we're making.  I just might stumble across some good advice and recipes.  At least that's what we paid for...  we start Thursday, so wish us luck!  The 50lb countdown begins!

Monday, April 26, 2010

One treasure after another...

Initially when I joined the BESTeam (Boosting Etsy Shops Team), I thought the best part (no pun intended) would be having other artists blog about my shop and get, in essence, free advertising.  I was wrong!  While having your shop featured on other blogs is awesome, I've found my favorite part is discovering other artists and shops I might not have found otherwise.  Since we have weekly assignments, each week I open my email to find the name of the shop for me to review.  It's like Christmas morning!  I try not to cheat and click on other names, though it has happened before.  It also has helped me with my own store; I get to see what promotions work for other artists, get a feel for photography styles, and see what other wonderful shops are creating!  It has also pushed me to be less procrastinaty ( I know it's not a word, but it works) about working on my blog and in my studio.

I am excited this week to feature the nice woman who featured me last week on her blog, and who I've been chatting with since... DarlingDandeDesigns!  This clever mom from Florida has the most adorable children's clothing... for your little ballerina!

The Party Tutu!  I wish I had one right now... it looks like a party on its own!  And every girl at one point wants to be a ballerina, right?   DarlingDande also has great bloomers/diaper covers:

With detachable and changeable snap-on bows!  Really, really cute.  So much better than a regular, ol' diaper!  I might just have to have kids now (sort of kidding).  A majority of the darling (dande) creations are customizable, too, with a monogram or your child's name.  And the indispensable, the essential, the burp cloth!

These animal print cloths are perfect for when your little cheetah has had a little too much fun.  Or your boyfriend.  I'm sure it works well for all burps.

Probably my favorite item in DarlingDande's shop is her pillowcase dress... very cute, very wearable, and very in style.  And it looks like it will fit your child for years (which is a miracle within itself!).

It's also rumored that DarlingDande sells Art Gallery Fabric... hope I'm not letting the cat out of the bag, but I personally can't wait to be able to buy some myself.  Oh, and did I mention she also makes baby blanketsDarlingDandeDesigns is the perfect place to buy something for your own children, or to find the perfect baby gift.  Oh, oh, and she has a website!!!  She has all kinds of goodies there!  For mom, for baby... change purses, bath and body products, bath and beach hooded towels... I could go on and on.  Thanks so much, DarlingDandeDesigns, for letting me review your adorable store!  I look forward to chatting with you again soon!      

Friday, April 23, 2010

A small, life changing idea...

A bit of background information to help express my life-changing moment today:  I graduated from college with a degree in art history, after a failed go at interior design (I just cannot find it within myself to be vindictive or the required level of competitive... and I didn't want to try to find those traits).  I discovered that I loved art, loved making art, only wanted to study and be surrounded by art.  I had high hopes that upon graduation, I would find the perfect gallery job that offered me the opportunity to share what I had learned with others, and encouraged me to create on my own.  None such luck.  Not that I resent how life has unfolded; quite the opposite.  I currently work part-time at a local comic book store.  It is a fun atmosphere and requires very little of me.  Which I think is a source of my current artist's block or "wall"; each job I have had since graduating has deflated my dream a bit, has added a brick to the wall that keeps me from doing what I love, what I desire, to do.  It is not so high that I can't climb over it, but it is still there, and on certain days, like today, it is just high enough to keep me out of the realm of art and creativity just beyond it.  Perhaps I'm getting a bit dramatic, but I am describing something I am passionate about, or rather, how I am kept from it.

However, there is still that smoldering ash within that wants to be re-lit, to be fed, and never be put out.  This leads me to the excitement of finding others' creativity thriving.  It feels almost as if seeing another artist doing what they love and so well adds a little tinder to my fire, knocks down a brick or two.

Today I found a jewelry maker/designer... I am tempted to call her a jewelry "mother" because she creates and gives birth to such inspired pieces, but I know that sounds funny.  Her name is Carrie Boucher, and she sells her pieces as Pink Crow Studio, on Etsy, Twitter, and Facebook (all of these things seem mundane to mention in the same context as her work, might I add).  While I was doing nothing productive this morning/early afternoon, as per usual lately, I stumbled upon her work and her blog.  Her work is beautiful, time-consuming, creative, and unique.  Each piece is one-of-a-kind, and makes me feel how a pirate probably felt upon discovering a cache of gold dubloons... I covet, I want.  But I will still share.  What really caught me off-guard today was how fitting for my life one of her blog posts was.  She was discussing task and time-management, which, let's be honest, I have MAJOR issues with.  I am easily distracted and often unmotivated in the shadow of my brick wall.  But Carrie had included a little video clip at the end of her post, and it changed the game for me.  I have a lot of guilt associated with my wall; my husband doesn't understand why I don't just "go make stuff."  I don't either really, there is physically no "wall" standing in my way, it is mental.  So he can't see it.

I want you to watch this clip.  It's about 20 minutes, but offers artists, writers, creatives of all types, a way to view the process and help dismantle the guilt or anxiety you may feel about your work.

After watching this, and typing this post, I think I am going to sit in my studio.  Just sit.  I have a feeling that something will be made.  That is my hope anyway.  I also hope I didn't bore you too much, and I promise my next post will be much more upbeat! 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The weeks just fly by...

Wow, I can't believe last week is over!  And look, another one just waiting to replace it... hello, Tuesday.  As usual, I got absolutely nothing done this weekend.  My to-do list included:  raking the lawn, clearing out weeds, putting in a garden, starting a compost pile, vacuuming the house, doing laundry, doing dishes, working in my studio.  I did... yep, none of those things.  My husband, however, did my laundry and the dishes.  So at least the list was partially checked off.  I really want to start a vegetable garden, but it seems to be a task of titanic proportions for me.  Not to mention hubby has specifically stated he will have nothing to do with it, i.e., the garden and its upkeep.  Not that I blame him. 

The only thing I did that didn't involve watching more LOST (I only just finished season 2, and all I can say is, "What?!"), was attending my first book club meeting.  We read the AMAZING The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  Heartbreaking, funny, and surprising, I was so glad to have joined the club in time to read this book.  I might have overlooked it... it was in the "Young Adult" section of the book store, along with anything and everything vampire/high school angst/teen drama... not really my style.  I would not have said this was a teen book; definitely appropriate for teens, but just as suitable for any adult who can stand to imagine life in Nazi Germany.  Now I'm getting ahead of myself!  My self-imposed blog schedule has discussions on books I'm reading later in the week!  Oh well, I just can't contain my excitement about this book.  I guess excitement is a bit extreme; this book is very sad and is a sobering reminder of what the human race is capable of, both good and bad.  Zusak's style is quirky, his artistic use of language had me reading every single line (I'll admit, sometimes I find myself skipping over a few lines in other books to move the story along... *blush*), and the way he weaves colorful cross-sensory metaphors in so beautifully... sigh.  You just have to read this.  If you read nothing else, including my blog, read The Book Thief.  I would read it again, but can't bear the heartbreak a second time.

Based on how much I enjoyed The Book Thief , I purchased another Markus Zusak book, I Am the Messenger.  Both of these books have received awards for their literary excellence, so I am very much looking forward to my next read.  The next book on the book club list looks fairly disappointing, and I'll be skipping that one for sure.   Has anyone read any of these two Markus Zusak books yet?  No spoilers please, but what did you think?  What book has inspired you this year?

Monday, April 19, 2010

She's got the goods... JUST the goods...

Ok, so my title is lame.  But this BESTeam member is not!  Please welcome JustTheGoods!  As if Canada wasn't beautiful enough, here is a store with natural, vegan, cruelty-free cosmetics to beautify your routine, wherever you live!  This Winnepeg-based maker-of-all-things-fabulous' name comes from her shop's mission: to be green, so you save green!  Less packaging, less waste, less cost... I love her already!  Let's dive in!

So, you might be wondering what this is... it's natural toothpaste!  And it comes in four, count 'em, four different flavors!  Plus, like the majority of JustTheGoods' other items, it comes in a reusable canning jar!  How eco-friendly is that?!


I just love these little jars!  Such a great idea.  And, some items, like this shaving cream, come in a little plastic baggie, so you can reuse your last jar, and just refill it!  Saves on packaging, and shipping costs.  I like the way you think, JustTheGoods.  As if natural, handmade, vegan toothpaste and shaving cream, two necessities, weren't enough, this great shop also offers:

Whipped Cream!  I mean... Whipped Body Butter!  It really does look good enough to eat.  I do have to say, however, that my favorite items in JustTheGoods' shop have to be the SAMPLES!  Yes folks, you read that right.  This lovely shop sells samples!

You choose any four of your favorite products from her shop, and for less than $3(!) you can sample JustTheGoods' toothpaste, body butter, foot butter... that is just a great deal!  

Now, I haven't yet mentioned how this shop has MORE than what I've just shown you.  (I'm trying to jokingly sound like a late-night infomercial here... that's right, you get FOUR samples!  All for a low, low price... sorry my humor is lacking!)  JustTheGoods also has a great blog, where she talks about her upcoming craft fairs, GLOWING reviews (congrats!), and wonderful products.  You can follow her on Twitter here, and become a fan on Facebook here.  And because I'm such a nice person... which I am, really, I will even share her website with you!  Still in the works, but worth keeping an eye on.  Now in case you're wondering how any of this could get any better, I want you to read this:

"Deodorant sticks, moisturizers, aromatherapeutic fragrance oils and solids, and so much more are coming soon!"

Holy cow!  I'm moving to Canada.  I cannot wait to see what else this smart lady comes up with.  Keep up the good work!  I'm off to order samples!  Thanks so much, JustTheGoods, for letting me review your amazing shop!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Here's to new friends! And preparing for the zombiepocalypse...

I just want to thank Ms. Sara of Zombie Attack Plan fame for mentioning my store, Swing Station Studio on her blog.  Totally awesome of her.  While you're checking out her delicious blog (braaaaains...), don't forget to shop local folks!  You'll need those people to back you up when the zombies come! 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hooray for Inspiration! And my first weekly review!

Happy Wednesday, crafting world! It's been awhile.

So while I wait for my amazing husband to cook me dinner (I love being able to say that!), I figured I'd try my hand/fingers at a few new blogging features. So far I have yet to figure out how to add photos to my blog (what, you didn't notice how bland it is? You're too kind!)... my netbook is tricky that way. So I'm using my trusty old Mac. And we'll see how it works. My inspiration today comes from a new Etsy Team I recently (hours ago) joined: BESTeam! It really is the best. Not only does it promote other craftians, but it gives me the boost/push/kick I need to get back into blogging. I promise to keep up with it now, I even wrote a little list of the topics I intend to discuss daily.

So, to start off my blogging duties, I'd like to introduce everyone to a fabulous woman, her Etsy store, and her darling blog! Welcome Gardenmis! Her Etsy store can be found here, and her beautiful blog here. Gardenmis is based out of Ohio, and loves vintage and handmade items (we have so much in common!). A little something to wet your appetite:

How pretty is this? This is Gardenmis' handmade, layered yo-yo hair fascinator, and indeed it has grabbed my attention! Gardenmis' Etsy store is full of these fun and classy hair pieces, all one-of-a-kind!

A lovely little flower!

My favorite Gardenmis piece! Sooo cute!

Gardenmis also has a great blog, where she features other Etsy sellers, as well as an extensive (I mean EXTENSIVE!) collection of tutorials! I'm a sucker for shared knowledge and anything craft related, so Gardenmis has set my heart aflutter! Not to mention her gorgeous blog playlist! This crafty blogger has it all! Thanks, Gardenmis, for letting me share your lovely shop and blog!