Monday, March 30, 2009

Projects in the works -

On a recent beach trip I did a little painting . . .It was nice to work on a canvas. I haven't painted a canvas for quite a while. This was a reflection of sharing the joy of music -
I began with a blank canvas a while ago. Many times when I am painting it drives me nuts to leaves puddles of unused color on my palette. Acrylic paints dry rather quickly and can't be rehydrated like watercolors - so they are "wasted" if you don't use them. So I started painting splotches of the color on a blank canvas. I had no idea what i would do with it - just that it would supply me with a great background for something. Then I laid in the vines and such. I wanted to do a tribute to my daughters and the love of the piano that we share . . .and this is what I came up with.

This is a new chair that will be donated to the Mt. Hood Community College Foundation Auction in April. I love the idea of donating a piece to benefit a good cause - and providing some worthy student the opportunity to better their lives through education is a great cause.

This is the beginning of a custom order for a family in Kalama, Wa. Living on a farm for 20 years, they wanted a chair that reflected that life. I have just begun laying in the pattern - I will show you an update in a day or two to see how this is progressing. A cow, some sheet, a pig and a few sunflowers . . .not many details yet - but there will be soon!
So many projects . . .so little time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tick Tock . . .

Here are some of my newest products - clocks to get you there on time . . .or at least, to give you something to count as the minutes tick by.

These are made from something that many of us have plenty of but aren't quite sure what to do with them. A perfect circle, made from durable vinyl - yup - these are made from old record albums. I painted the front but left the back in tact to preserve the integrity of the record. So there you have it, a new purpose to an old item.

On another note - Spring Break is here and the family is all "off" for the week. I miss the days when I could spend the week at home with my kids. Even though they are much older now and would prefer to spend there time with friends on most occasions, I would still like to be able to stop the roller coaster and enjoy the week with them.

So my husband has taken the family down to the coast for the rest of the week. Although the weather here in our part of the country is not going to be "special" . . . they will have a wonderful time. The beach is always wonderful. And what a great time to hook up as a family - time to spend reading, watching movies, playing board games, napping, walking and best of all - listening to the waves crash.

I need to finish my week out here but will be able to join them shortly for the weekend. So in the meantime, I get to enjoy a little quiet time at home alone. I love having alone time to think, read, create some art, write in my journal and . . .of year, work.

What are your plans for Spring break? Do you get to partake in the week of relaxation, or do you continue life as normal. How do you celebrate the arrival of Spring? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Garden Gate

Laurie Miller Designs can now be found in Kalama, WA at The Garden Gate Gift and Florals. Check out the website: The Garden Gate carries wonderful floral designs that are unique - these are not your average cookie cutter flower arrangements. And now if you are in the area, you can stop by and pick up a piece of art work. This is the first of hopefully many retail locations that you will be able to find my art!

Stay tuned also for some of my newest creations. I have such a desire to be "responsible" with my art. I want to create things that are positive and happy and bright, but I also want to make sure to practice what I preach to my kids and reduce, reuse, and recycle. With that in mind, I love to give new life to items that others are ready to cast off. That is the heart of my chairs and furniture pieces. And now I am taking it to another level. Flower vases, clocks, treasure/jewelry boxes - all new products I am adding to my line and all created with reclaimed items. You will have to stay tuned to see what I come up with. Check back in a few days to see the clocks -

I am also in the final stages of booking into our art sales and shows for the rest of the year. I am really excited about all of the great places I will be this year. Next month I will be showing at the Irvington Artists Market in NE Portland; in May I will be down on the Coast in Oceanside, OR just outside of Tillamook; this summer you will be able to see me at The Sandy Mountain Days, The Gresham Art Walk and The Mt. Hood Festival of Jazz. Later in the fall I will be traveling over to Sisters, OR for their Harvest Faire and then to Hood River for their Harvest Fest. And finally we will finish out the year in Seattle at the Phinney Winterfest again. Yes! It will be busy - but I am so excited to meet new people, share my work, and be a part of all the festivities. I'll keep you posted as each of the events get closer. In the meantime - go find something bright and colorful to lift your spirit.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Being Grateful

Thanksgiving has come and gone; Christmas has come and gone; and we are stuck in the perpetual gray days of Winter. Small glimpses of sunshine peek out every once in a while - but the moments are short and the cold temperatures keep me stuck in bleakness. I've always had a struggle with this time of year. The days are too short and it feels like there is too little to look forward to. The novelty of the darkness of winter has long worn out and I crave the colors of spring in the flowers, the trees, the blue sky and the sunshine.

In the latter part of January, a friend of mine approached me with the idea of a Gratitude Group. An idea she had seen in a magazine around the Holidays, she found she couldn't shake the idea and wanted to try an experiment. Through an email invitation, she invited a diverse group of women. And those women were invited to invite one other friend. We met on a Friday night at her home, each bringing a component of a simple soup and salad dinner. We dished up, introduced ourselves and told each other a little bit about our lives. And then the fun began. We were each given a journal and told to regularly write down a few of the things that we were grateful for.

I made a committment to myself to do this. I have always been a journal writer - but I go through phases. I love journals. . .I have dozens of them - but very few that I have completely filled. I set my journal next to my bed with a pen so that it was ready to go. Many nights I crawl into bed, pick up the journal and think - there is nothing special about this day that is worth recording. But - that was not what this "assignment" was about - so I begin to think about what I am grateful for. And then the words begin to flow.

Many days the themes are the same - family, husband, home, talents, my art, color . . . nothing earth shattering. But for those brief moments before bed, I forget about the struggles of life. Our stuggles with money, or the needed house repairs, or the frustrations of the little things go away and I am reminded of all that I have. I am very, very grateful!

The Gratitude Group will meet again in March and we will share our revelations as to how this experiment has affected our lives. And I am sure, if the other women have felt as I have, that we will continue for months to come. To share with others in such a positive way is a blessing in and of itself. For those few hours we will not discuss the economy or our jobs or anything negative. We will left each other up with gratitude.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Here's to March

The finished stool . . .

Recently, we took some of my work to a professional photographer to have some portfolio shots done. What a great experience. It was so wonderful to see the work transformed into a 2 dimensional image with full color. The difference of using studio lighting, diffusers, and backdrops was well worth it. Now we have some great shots to use when we apply for the "big" sales that require some pretty heavy jurying.

Although March is only just beginning, it has been filled with frustration. Last year, I managed to stay realitively healthy. When considering all the people that come to work every day coughing and sniffling and sneezing - this was a miracle. This year I have not been so fortunate. I have once again caught the "crud" that everyone seems to be fighting. I was laid up for 3 days in February and felt that I had "served my time". But no . . .I have once again been hit with whatever this lovely stuff is and am flat . . .again.

I have never been very good at being "sick". I don't like lying around doing nothing. I get very tired of watching tv and movies but my brain is a little too soft for reading. By the end of the day, I am generally somewhat cranky and bored out of my mind. And feeling as if time is slipping away. I want to draw or paint or create something - but unfortunately, I am just too foggy in the head.

I will return with more interesting posts once I can conquer this beast. Here is to a wonderful March - hopefully full of Spring like days!