Monday, September 20, 2010

It's finished!!!!
The big project is completed. As you can see - it is an entertainment center. The doors on the top cover 3 shelves, the doors on the botton cover 2 shelves. The television fits in the black opening. The cabinet was custom made for my clients and it fits snugly in a corner.
It stands over 7 feet high.
I am so happy with the finished product - pictures do not begin to do it justice.
I know this was a commissioned piece . . but do you think they would notice if I never gave it back to them?  I really like it :)

In other news - we have a new location to display some of our wonderful designs . . .
Lillian's is a new natural food store in downtown Gresham. Be sure and check it out if you are in the area. We have pieces for sale that are perfect for gifts.
And they kind of add a nice little bling to the walls - don't you think?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Proud Moments

I have been working for about a month on a large project - in fact, this is one of the largest custom pieces I have ever done. And it has been fun!! This is a second sneak peak of this little project - I am about 75% done with it now and will soon be posting pictures of the completed piece soon -

I have been working on this in "pieces" and can't wait to have it reassembled and see the final product.

I am also excited because we became the proud parents of a new printer last night. After completing my on-line course with Kelly Rae (which was a fabulous course by the way - and it is available to purchase as a pdf and is full of lots of great information) she graciously shared the printer that she has used as part of her business. I also talked with some other artist friends and asked what they used. After my research - I found the printer, ordered it and after a week of anticipation. . .our new baby showed up. Hubby is working to get it set up and ready to go. Once we have trained ourselves on how to use it - we will be producing some awesome prints. I can hardly wait!!!

More good news - it looks like we will be hanging some bright art work in a new natural food market in Gresham called Lillian's Natural Marketplace. If you live in the Gresham area - be sure and stop in. Gresham has been needing something like this for awhile now - and after meeting Lillian with her outgoing personality - she is obviously the perfect person for the job. I can't wait to get to know her a little better!

And one more "proud parent" moment . . .when I got home yesterday, I took a walk around the yard. I checked into our Rhode Island Roost where our sweet chickens live and found 4 eggs!!! This is a first - they have been blessing us with one a day - maybe even 2 - but today we had 4! I am so proud of those girls. I came in and told my daughter the good news and she commented, "Well that makes sense - they were making alot of noise today!" And I just thought - "can you blame em?"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Balancing the Scales

I finished up with the West Linn Arts Festival yesterday. It was a good experience. The first time I have attended that particular Festival. The weather was beautiful - sunny, blue skies and not too hot. We had a great location that allowed us to really hear all of the musicians and performers which completed the experience. We had a good weekend of sales, but more importantly we met some great people and made some great contacts.

Now it is time for some balance. I have several exciting opportunities coming up - shops and galleries that we are in conversations with, custom orders to complete, our annual holiday sales as well as a special private sale that I am working on (more details to come on that later - it will be GREAT!). By rights I don't have time to catch my breath.

HOWEVER . . .recently, I had a bit of a wake-up call. Nothing major - but enough to make me aware that it was time to put a bit more balance back into the life. I've always been an extreme advocate of women making time for themselves. I remind my friends often that they are not being selfish when they make time to care themselves - take time to go for a walk or a hike, take the bubble bath, read that book for fun, work on their hobby. And I work in my studio all the time. I love my studio time - but when preparing for shows and filling orders - it is the business part of the venture and it is work. Work that I love doing, for sure - but work none-the-less. So it is time for me to take some of my own advice and "sit, talk, laugh, share and relax".

The reality is - when I honor myself and allow myself time for a walk or to do something special for myself - I truly am more productive. I can get more work done in less time. It's one of those little life anomolies that don't necessarily make any sense!
So with the need for balance in mind . . . 
I am actively planning some little mini-vacations to allow myself the time to do just that.
 I am starting with a day trip this Saturday. I'm not sure exactly what the day will hold - but I know that a soak in a mineral bath will be high on the list.
I am planning an early evening pedicure.
And I am looking for someplace to escape for a little weekend get-away.

What kind of things do you do to stay balanced? Share ideas - maybe I will borrow one or two.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy New Year.

It's been feeling a bit stormy around here lately . . .figureatively and literally.
Our gray days are back and I don't like it.
The dark is moving in much earlier every evening . . .and I don't like it.
I needed an extra blanket the last few nights . . .and I don't like it.

But I am dancing in the rain as well -
We have some "deals" in the works that should be a wonderful step forward for the art business.
We have some wonderful art festivals coming up - in fact they are some of my favorites.
I have a long list of commission pieces I am working on and am feeling blessed by all of those.

My youngest daughter returned to high school this week and we all survived the first week back.
There was a moment of panic last night when I wasn't sure as she was stressing over a Spanish test that was being issued already. They had only been in school for 3 days and already a test. She was having a hard time.
But we danced through that storm and then laughed about it as we made up our own language.
I had a birthday and it brought up some of those feelings of anxiety that i tend to get around birthdays. You know the kind . . .am I doing enough with my life? have i been a good enough parent? Are my children on the right path?
But we danced through that storm over a lovely birthday dinner that they prepared for me and we laughed and listened to each other as we talked about the events of our days. And I was reassured.

So it is September - I have just had a birthday, it is the first quarter of the new "fiscal" year, and we are beginning to see the signs of a new season moving in. I've always found it interesting that we look at January as the "start" of the year, yet all of the beginnings seem to start in September. So this is the time of year when I like to think of goals. Besides - I'm always so tired in January that trying to come up with goals just seems like more work!
So I have a few ideas of things I would like to do this next year . . .

1. Go white water rafting.
2. Develop a regular yoga and meditation practice.
3. Go on regular dates with my children.
4. Create and build a catalog of my art work.
5. Find at least 5 retail locations to sell my work.
6. Get my Etsy store up and functioning.
7. Paint a piece for ME or my home at least once a month.
8. Plan a vacation.
9. Go to California to visit a gallery that has fascinated me for years.
10. Try to connect in person with some of the artist friends I have met online.
11. Ask more questions.
12. Tackle those tasks associated with my business that are kind of scary.
13. Try a new restaurant, coffee shop or cafe at least once a month.
14. Take an unmapped road trip.
15. Find my balance.
16. Participate in a class - even if it is just for a day - for fun!
17. Take more photos of my family.
18. Get the camera of my dreams.
19. Send more cards and letters rather than electronic notes. Everybody loves mail!
20. Spend as much time with my parents as possible.

How about you?  What do you want to do in the upcoming year? If you answer now - I promise not to ask this question again in January. So Happy New Year everyone!

PS - This weekend is the West Linn Arts Festival. Come out and see the artists, hear live music and enjoy the magic of handcrafted.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Weekend Away -

We headed to the Oregon Coast for our annual Labor Day sale in Oceanside. What a beautiful place. I have loved this area of the coast for as long as I can remember. How can a person not love a place that gives you free nightly shows like this. Each evening as the sun would set, everyone on the beach would turn in reverence to the rocks and pay respect to the sun slidding down behind the horizon. Gorgeous!

Our family was raised going to this part of the coast. My parents bought a small cabin in 1968. It was rustic and simple with no running hot water and an outhouse - it flushed, but you went outside to use it. There was no heat other than that generated from an antique wood stove. When you walked into the cabin there was a distinct smell of damp, salty air. I loved it.
When I think of trips to the beach as a child I remember things like fishing, crabbing, digging clams, picking muscles off the rocks (way before this was thought to be a delicacy) and many other strange salty, sandy things. My older brother was quite adventurous with his pallette and tried lots of things that I found disgusting as a child.
We played "chase" games in the sand - a silly game called the fox and the geese was played on many occasions. A large circle was drawn in the sand with a smaller circle in the middle. The small circle was protection. We would run around playing this silly version of tag until we were laughing so hard that inevitably one of the adults would announce they were going to "wet their pants".
 I remember builidng fires and being introduced to my very first s'more on this beach.
We would spend our afternoons combing the hillside, roadway and beach looking for soda bottles and then turn them into the store for our nickel deposit. That generated enough money to buy a stash of candy bars, and on a good day - a bottle of orange soda to go with it. After drinking the soda, I would sometimes put any left over change in the bottle, hide it in a hole in the hillside and draw a treasure map so that I could dig it up the next time we came for a visit.
My mother would have us collect rocks and little pieces of driftwood and shells that we would later combine together to create beautiful collages. These would decorate the walls of our little cabin. Fine art created for nothing more than the cost of a bottle of elmers glue.
 I remember making a fire on the beach, melting candle wax in an old pot over the fire, digging holes in the sand, pouring the wax in and making sand candles. After the wax had hardened, we would dig up our art work and use them for candlelight dinners at our rustic table.
My older brothers would try their hand at fishing in the surf. If they were successful, my mom would pack up the makings of a picnic dinner and the main course would be fresh fish cooked over an open fire.
We played in the ocean.
We hunted for agates and sea glass and shells until I would see miles of rocks in my dreams at night.
Our little house had no television, no cable access, no computer, no telephone and distractions. We made our own fun. I would sit in front of the picture window and color or draw, play solitaire with a deck of cards, play every board game imaginable and explore every inch of the beach and surrounding hillsides.
As children we felt like pirates and we ruled the world there.
Now we share these adventures with our children - playing in the ocean, digging in the sand, exploring tide pools and climbing rocks. We collect treasures. We spend our evenings around the table playing board games. We cook together, eat together and laugh together.
Time is spent in play - not "plugged in".
And as time moves forward, I am now creating evening more memories with another generation of beach bums.

Oh - how I do love this place.