Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas thoughts

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.  

And now, what about my Gift to YOU? 

Palimpa Lim and Simply blue  and Pamela Jane are the winners of my gifts to YOU.

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.
♥ Sharon

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.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Love your whispers

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
♥ Sharon

ps.....Prints of My Love are now available by whisper request.  I tell you it is a beautiful print.   

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Gift for YOU

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. 

♥ Sharon

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My love of two birds

Finished and I'm crazy over the moon with the transformation from the beginning.

I'm afraid it is one of those times that I'm left without words.
♥ Sharon

Friday, December 17, 2010

Update on two birds 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.
♥ Sharon

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I only liked the birds

I thought this had possibilities when I first sketched it. 
But then I started painting and began to get a bad vibe.
The problem is, it was time for work and I had to walk away from it at the bad vibe stage. 

Here is what I know.  
Here is what I have learned several times. 

Walking away at the bad stage is a huge mistake.
 It is hard to start again without the excitement of fresh inspiration churning inside of you.
Starting again but with a bad vibe is like taking bad medicine.  
First you have to talk yourself into taking it. 
But that doesn't make it taste any better. 
Sure enough, I had to quit again still holding onto the bad feeling about the painting. 
For the record, I didn't like the colors and I didn't like her face. 

 During another short session yesterday, I changed some of the colors.
This morning, I tried to be happy by tweaking her features.

Then I thought, who is the boss of this painting?
It's me.
 I picked up a big brush and scrubbed Gesso over the parts I didn't like.
I only liked the birds. 
Then, I added collage papers and more paint.
And some more paint. 

I had to walk away from it again.
This time, with good vibes.
I like the colors.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Two birds with one....

Heads up.

I am thrilled and honored this week to be recognized by fellow Bloggers and fellow Etsyers (my new word)

Earlier this week my print, Angels among Butterflies was included in an Etsy Treasury by Curator rsully2sphotography .  To view this beautiful treasury of Angels, click on the first link.

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.

♥ Sharon
PS:  the Two Birds is just a little snip of a WIP

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Biz Cards & Mail Labels

Here is another How-to from my way.

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?

♥ Sharon

Monday, December 06, 2010

Magic Brushes

Hey Look!  I've got some new Magic Brushes.  I've had them for a while but as you can see.....they are still not initiated.

I learned about "Magic Brushes"  in Italy.  I'm sorry but you just had to be there to understand their magic.

However, in case you don't know the "Magician" has a new online class that starts in January.  Sign-up started today.

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.

♥ Sharon

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Do you wonder how to make prints?

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.
It uses 8 different Epson Ultra Chrome K3 Ink cartridges  which are fairly expensive and I will tell you that it does seem to suck down the ink. 

As you can see above, when a cartridge is running low, it tells you each time you print until you finally have to change the cartridge.  I always keep extra on hand.
And so happy that I do because today was the day I had to change those two low ink levels before I could print this beautiful print of Circus Day.

There is more to it than printer and inks.  I have experimented with all of the Epson papers. I am now using the Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster  which gives a beautiful print. 

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.

This beautiful print is available for the first time.  I just added it today. 

I will now ship in a White self-seal Stay Flat envelope that is said not to bend.  I can recommend this company for their service.  I placed my order one day and it was delivered the next. 

For more on the subject of selling your prints you might want to read this from a very talented and successful artist, Kristna Laurendi Havens.

That's it for now.
Oh, One more thing, don't forget you will get 10% discount on anything in my shop if you use the special code: INEEDTHIS  when you check out.  Sale will continue until December 15th.

I've had this on my mind to share for a good while now. Hope it is helpful.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Get my Etsy Sale Code

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!!! 
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. 

Enjoy shopping.
♥ Sharon