I think I'm in a mood to ramble out loud as it is, with my thoughts. This year Christmas is different. I made a conscious effort to have a good attitude, even though my friend here in town didn't think my attitude was so good. We had a good laugh about that.
First of all, my children and grand children are of the age that they would just as soon have a gift of money, rather than a gift of my choosing. For several years now, that has been just fine with me. Some of those years, I didn't even put out the stockings and the last time I put up a Christmas tree was 2007.
Not having the stockings hung didn't go over so well the first time. The second time, they didn't grumble so much but were resolved. My reasoning was simple. As sad as it seems, no one would see the tree as we live in the country and even when the tree is up, it can't be seen from the road. Seldom do we have company and even though that is my own fault, it is a fact. It seems such a huge job to pull out everything and get it all set for just one day.
The last two years, it seemed like Christmas came and went signaling the end of the year and I wasn't ready for the year to be over. I felt like I needed another month before starting a new year. It just seemed like things weren't finished. Things I meant to get around to but didn't. A whole lot of good intentions went by the wayside leaving me feeling empty and frustrated.
This year, I decided I had to do things a little different. The first thing I figured out was that I needed to buy gifts for my children and grandchildren. Oh sure, they will get some money also, but for me, I needed to give a wrapped gift of my choosing. And so I went shopping. Presents for everybody and stocking stuff too.
The next thing I did was take time to bake and share sweets with my friends.
On Christmas eve, I had to go to the hardware store for a plumbing need and right at the door was a huge stack of boxed small Christmas trees...with the lights already on them. On sale. I loaded one in my car and share here the little table-top tree all ready for our Christmas, January 2nd.
Yes, that is what I said. It's not here yet. We only have two children but Christmas weekend didn't work out for them. I really wanted to be upset about this. For me, Christmas is Christmas. I think I got that from my Mother. Thank goodness, my sweet daughter set me straight in the most gentle way and I realized, it's not about ME. So on Christmas day, I finished decorating the little tree while making a wonderful dinner. Sweet daughter and grand daughter joined us during her break from work. I still need to get the stockings out and fill them. I have some wrapping to do yet too. Nothing like waiting to the last minute. Feels so right.
One last thing, I even made some Greeting cards and am still getting them sent out.
The oddest thing about all of this it that I feel like I'm ready for the year to end and a new year to start. I hope my kiddos like their presents because I know that is what made a Merrier Christmas for me.
But wait, there's more. I have gifts for everybody who whispered to me in either of the last two posts. Here is what you do:
♦Send me an email to: sktomlinson at gmail dot com
♦Give me your snail mail address
♦Tell me if you like napkins
♦If you would like any of my collage sheets (look at my etsy shop) sent to you by email, just tell me so and if you have a preference, tell me that too.
I'll be watching for your emails.
ps....I wanted to tell you that all the little birds that decorate my tree this year were my Mother's. We laid her to rest on Christmas Eve 1991. I found all these little birds scattered among her unfinished craft projects.
I am seriously loving your "whispers" and getting so much joy from all that you say. You are welcomed to whisper on this post too.
I'm on the countdown to Christmas Day and I just received the command that we shall be closed tomorrow at noon. I will be doing all those last minute things just like you.
1. buying the celery
2. wrapping house shoes
3. stuffing the turkey...... I mean stockings
4. washing windows
5. sitting in the chair
6. baking the strawberry cake
7. setting the table
8. dusting the big Christmas wreath above the mantel that was never taken down last year. yes really. OK, so this might not on your list.
9. thinking about next year
10. feeling blessed
ps.....Prints of My Love are now available by whisper request. I tell you it is a beautiful print.
Last Sunday morning, I was rummaging through my huge stash of napkins thinking I would feel or see or touch inspiration. I noticed that I have many duplicates and even triplicates and that is when I heard the inspiration.
I listened to the whisper that said, "since you have so much, and more than enough, you could share". So that is what I want to do. Although, I would like to share with each and every one of you dear readers and followers, I might not have that much but I do have enough for several packets.
On Christmas day, I am going to give away several gifts from my stash of napkins and other "special" papers.
Your comments fill me with joy. I will "listen to your whisper" to know who to send my gifts to.
...is still a work in progress. This morning I arranged my ART time to allow more than 15 minutes so I could paint this face. I didn't want to feel rushed or frustrated about having to leave it, if not with a bad vibe, maybe just at an awkward point. So, I decided that I needed at least one hour and fifteen minutes before proceeding with a paint brush.
Therefore, in addition to cutting back on my internet time, I cut a few corners in the getting ready for the office department, like not washing my hair and skipping the leg hair chore. I didn't take time to fix a brown bag lunch either. I stayed focused on rushing through the plan.
Yesterday, I sat in front of the bathroom mirror and held my hand like that for the sketch and I was excited about painting this morning but would not start until I knew I had reserved extra time. It really does my heart good to discover that I can still paint a face and be happy with it. You know I will share again when I finish this piece.
I'm looking forward to a nice weekend and hope you are too.
Today, I was totally surprised and honored to be included in Seth Apter's project on his blog, The Altered Page. The project is called The Pulse and is a survey of nearly 150 artists. Today's edition of The Pulse is Viewer's Choice - Blogs II. My blog is included in the second of three posts listing favorite blogs. Thank you Seth for your project. Click over the The Altered Page for a list with links to some very cool blogs.
Thank you for visiting, and for leaving your comments, and for being Followers. I started to say, "you have no idea how much it means to me" but I think you do have an idea. Thank you.
PS: the Two Birds is just a little snip of a WIP
I ran out of business cards and it was time to change anyway.
Here is what I did/do.
I design and print my own and it is really pretty simple. I know it would probably be easier to just order them but I'm usually not that far ahead of myself, if you know what I mean. When I'm out, I'm out and need more yesterday.
One thing about my way is, I'm not committed to hundreds and can change them up whenever I want to.
Basically, I print 10 per sheet of card stock all nudged to the center and touching. Then I use my paper cutter to cut them apart. If I'm careful, I can get them all cut exactly the same. But really who will know if they are ever so slightly different.
I know there are products available to eliminate the cutting and all but who has time to fetch.
I do the same for my return address label.
Instead of using plain paper or card stock, I use Avery Sticker Project Paper. This is like one big sticker and then I cut is apart. It is a peel and stick product.
Of course Avery offers many many label and free templates to set up and print your labels, name tags, stickers, business cards, etc.
Might as well show you how I address my orders. This is really time saving when I have a lot of orders to fill at one time.
First, as I receive orders via Paypal, I send them all to my "Paypal transaction folder" in my GMail.
Here on the monitor you can see this folder opened and minimized. I have also opened a new word document and minimized it on the same screen.
I open the email, copy the address and then paste it over in the word document.
Copying and pasting the address removes me from making mistakes. After I get them all pasted I edit if necessary things like caps and lower case stuff and then I highlight the whole string of addresses and change the font size to 16. Print the page and take it to my cutter and cut them apart.
As you can see, I use clear mailing tape to adhere the addresses to the envelope. This protects the label.
I take these steps: print instead of hand writing; enlarge the print; and use clear tape all to make it easier for the USPS to get it right.
I have a stack going out today and thank you all for the orders. I am thrilled to pieces with the results of my little online shop sale. Don't forget to use the code INEEDTHIS to get a 10% discount.
OK, just one more thing, would you be interested in a tutorial of how I actually design the cards using Photoshop Elements 5.0?
Misty Mawn, is "artist-extraordinaire". Having had the pleasure of up close and personal with Misty for a week in early October, I can tell you she is an artist inside and out. Her classes are so full, I know this one will not disappoint. For a glimpse of Misty the Artist, don't miss this.
I will be playing ART with my Magic Brushes soon. More on that another day.
Occasionally, I get questions about how to make prints. I will tell you what I do and what I use and what my resources are; however, understand that my way is not the only way. It just works for me and I have made the investment to do it this way.
As you see above, I have an Epson Stylus Photo R2400 printer. Actually, I'm not sure this model is available now but a similar one is. This is a large bed printer and will print up to 13 X 19.
So, if you are going to print "in-house", you should research printers to see which fits your needs, as well as budget.
Another consideration if you are going to market your prints and will be shipping them, is weather or not to mat them and what you will mail them in.
I don't know if "matted" prints are more desirable to the consumer or not; but, I assume that it is matters to some and not to others. Having said that I, consider the mats as part of my shipping and handling cost and do not adjust the print price. I get mat supplies from Redimat. They have "25 pre-cut mat boards, backing boards, and Clear Bags in a kit. Available in 8x10, 11x14, 12x16, 16x20 and 18x24." Note: the
kit includes the mat, backing board and clear bag and the price is very reasonable.
I stopped selling prints about a year ago because of other obligations and needing to edit my time. I am very excited that I am now back in business with prints. I still have a small supply of the 8 x 10 (for 5 x 7 prints) mats and will offer them as long as my supply last. I have decided to discontinue including the mat.
I have taken and unscheduled and unannounced blog break. And you know when that happens, I have a hard time getting started again. The fact is I have taken an ART break as well. And what I know is if I had new ART to share, I would be right here sharing, showing and telling.
I just didn't think you would be interested in the MRI on my foot that never happened. Actually 32 seconds happened and I had.to.get.out.of.there!!!
When he told me all I had to do was wave my hand, I know he didn't think I would do that. Long story short, as soon as I could get off that table I grabbed my jewelry and bra and bolted the door as soon as he unlocked it. Felt traumatized the whole weekend.
That was 2 weeks ago. So this week, I further traumatized myself with a colonoscopy. I know you don't need to hear about that. Other than it was routine over 50 (haha way over) screening. And I'm all good. All I can tell you about that is I had the best nap Wednesday afternoon that I can ever remember having.
So enough of me and that. I am slow to get it done but I have finally over the course of several weeks listed original art in my shop and have today added the special sale code.
For a 10 % discount when you buy anything in my shop you can use the special code INEEDTHIS. During check out you will be ask for the code and the discount will be calculated at that time. This code will be good until December 15th.
I just had the urge to pop in. Something about the connection I guess.
Also I want to know if little stacks of various papers and stuff follow you around. I don't know what it is but I seem to attract them. I even have little flat trays to collect them in. You know what it is. Mail, receipts, recipes, napkins, collage scraps, collage papers, photos, tags, pieces of lace, cards, and anything else that floats by. I spent a lot of the weekend going through piece by piece and stack by stack and I can say in one room, my studio, I have cleared the stacks. Feels good and for the most part it is something I can do while in the chair zone.
After that, I did another favorite "chair zone" thing. I stitched a little progress on Tim's quilt.
Monday I took a sick day and yesterday a holiday and tomorrow a weekend. What a crazy week.
But yesterday was great, I started out with the sketch in my moleskin that I have never done anything in except try to cover up the white. White stops me cold in journals. Anyway, I did a practice sketch from the model that is blocked out right above the sketch.
Then I sketched again on the canvas. Some of you have asked about fixing the charcoal. Well, the truth is I don't have any spray fixative on hand. Years and years ago when I oil painted, I remember that sometimes we would fix our sketch with Aqua Net. Our store didn't have Aqua Net so I got Suave and tried that on the charcoal sketch that I painted last weekend. It was not totally successful but I managed. I just wanted to sketch to hold long enough for me to lay in a wash of lights and darks.
On the above sketch, I used a clear acrylic spray that I have and that was OK too but not really as good as a fixative would have been. Fixative is on my shopping list because I am really enjoying charcoal sketching. I do it in the chair zone.
8 x 24 canvas
I would like a holiday day off every week but y'all can have that sick day because that was a zinger!
Have a great weekend.
Finally a new painting. It seems like quiet a while I guess because I have been painting in my journal. This one is on canvas and I do plan to have some originals for sale in my Shop soon. I will announce the sale as I am not quite ready. Right now I have collage sheets for sale and I'm thrilled at their success.
I also wanted to share with you my friend Zorana has made several collage sheets that are fabulous. And this weekend she has added this Digital Collage Kit for making ACEOs and ATC cards.
Check out her blog here and watch the video she made demonstrating the fun she had making ATCs.
I think this is the coolest idea.
I still have eight blank spreads in my Orvieto journal but I'm thinking I will save them for another trip. Where to....I don't know. Could be just a trip to the inside of me. Where ever that is.
As you can see, this page is all about collage. I might even say collage "Misty style". It might surprise you that I never feel real comfortable with collage. Oh, I do manage to please myself with it sometimes but there is just a feeling inside of me that I want to overcome. It is like a struggle that I can't really explain. I wish it were something that I started doing as a child because I really do love the look of collage and Misty does it with such ease. She said she has been doing it since a child.
So a commitment to play more with collage is another thing that I brought back with me from a wonderful workshop with Misty. Thank you Misty.
PS I named this page "My Trees" because....well they are my trees.
While waiting for physical therapy on my foot last week, I browsed a W magazine and saw myself right then and there rip a page out. Or maybe I didn't see myself but heard the rip. Nevertheless, the old me would not have even turned down the corner much less removed a page. And there I sat with it in my hand. I looked around and no one was watching so I stuffed it in my big tote bag. I won't even tell you all the things that went through my mind at that moment. Well OK, just to mention a few; the issue was more than a year old; they shouldn't have kept me waiting so long; who is this person who subscribes to such an edgy magazine in this little rural town; have I become that person who rips recipes out of the doctor's office magazine; that was easy, maybe I could borrow a few more.
All of this while excitement was building with the bit of inspiration that I had just stolen and stuffed into my tote. I wish I could show you that page but it's not with me here at the desk-in-town. Anyway, it was a lineup of black headed young boys with bare chest and red socks all standing in profile. I couldn't stand it! To me, they were a chorus lineup white hooded saints that I surely must have seen or dreamed of in Orvieto.
So that was my Saturday art in my Orvieto journal.
One of the exercises that Misty sent us on was to go and find something that inspired us and sketch it. I don't take time for serious sketching and so this was a new thing for me. One of the reasons that I went on this adventure was to discover new ways to enjoy and be inspired to create my art. So, after a talk with myself, I found a place to sit in the rather dark ballroom where there were many beautiful paintings to be inspired by.
I used my inspiration journal and a stick of willow charcoal and lost myself in the process. But the one on the right above was not looking up and I realized the direction of gaze is something that I really liked about the original.
So, I tried her a second time. Next we had to return to the studio and sketch again into our journal and paint. She became my journal cover. And I vowed to bring home the "sketching" process and make it a habit in my future.
On the last evening, we showed and shared our journals. I will share more another day.
It was operated and managed by two nuns who only spoke Italian.
This Fresco is located in a small room near the kitchen area.
We were privileged to witness the restoration that was in progress.
I have no idea what had been done or what is going to be done;
however, the gray area to the right (above) and through the left panel (two photos down) was wet plaster that the artist had just applied.
I wish I could have stayed to watch; although, I overheard that getting the fresco to this stage had taken more than a year already.
One of the interesting things that I note is the little white dots around the perimeter of the aureole of both figures remind me of the little white dots that we sometimes add to our paintings. Don't you find that interesting?