Friday, July 29, 2011

Studio Clean Up: Phase 1


So back on July 14th I made it known in this post: http://meredithdada.blogspot.com/2011/07/controlled-chaos.html
That my art studio is out of control. It is messy, unorganized, and my hoarding habit does not help matters. I am using that original post to hold myself accountable, I can’t just post something like that and never follow through…well I can, but then I would have to go and delete the original post, and I would have to live with the self-loathing for not following through, then I would have to go to therapy for my lack of self esteem. Therapy is expensive, and it becomes a whole thing, so I figured I should just do what I said I would do in the first place and clean up my act.
I started phase one of the clean up process yesterday. I have to do it in phases since looking at the big picture will only make my head explode. I decided to start with one section of shelves, and work my way around. Today I decided to begin with organizing brushes, glazes, and pretty much anything to do with paint. The photo above shows the area before.


My ceramic glazes were not in any sort of order, my acrylic paints were kept in a box and I had precious shelf space being wasted with things that didn’t belong there. My paintbrushes were kept in an old oats container. Yes it is recycling, but it isn’t very pretty nor is it practical. The oats container is so tall; my small brushes got lost inside. During this process I was shocked to see I had about five good brushes that I forgot about completely!


A number of years ago, I was into making large mosaic pieces, tables, mirrors, clocks, that sort of thing. In the last few years my focus has shifted to my beadwork and there just isn’t time to be a wife, mom, crazy bead lady, and Etsy shop owner AND mosaic artist. So the mosaics have taken a backseat, but that still leaves me with an overabundance of mosaic supplies and they need to be used. In trying to solve my paintbrush storage problem, I noticed I had a couple of terracotta flowerpots also taking up space in my studio. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and use up excess materials to make something fun and useful to store my brushes.
First I started attaching the glass tile and marbles to the pot with thin-set. I wanted to keep the pots bright, playful and simple while at the same time using the materials I had on hand. An art studio should be fun and whimsical and since my studio is located in the darkest corner of the garage, it can use all the cheer it can get! I have jars and jars of glass, flat back marbles so I decided to use up as many as I could. I kind of like the whole polka-dot look it gave the pots so I decided to go with that.


After the thin-set dried I grouted the pots and painted the insides with acrylic paint then sealed them with a spray seal and grout sealer. I glued a large flat stone in the bottom of each pot to plug the holes.


I filled each pot with more marbles and this glass sand someone gave me a long time ago. Then I stuck my brushes into the pots, and now they are visible and easy to access. No more lost brushes!


I organized my paints and glazes so they are all in one place and easy to get to. I cleared the workbench and now there is plenty of space to start the next project. Phase 1 of Studio Clean Up is done! The rest of the studio is a total disaster, but I am taking baby steps here so stay tuned!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Smell Amazing Right Now! : Things I Buy On Etsy #4


I know this may be a case of TMI (too much info) and you may not care about what I smell like, but I wish you could smell me through the computer because damn I smell good! If the fact I am writing about how I smell is creeping you out I understand, I will not be hurt if you click away...


Oh good you’re still with me. Ok so the reason I smell so awesome is this fabulous handmade soap found here: www.crownofrue.etsy.com

Now I know what you are about to say; “but how can I buy soap off the Internet? I can’t smell it, how do I know I will like it?” Trust me, you will like it. Just do what I did. Read through her list of soaps and the descriptions. Pick the one you think you might like the most and buy a bar. I decided to try the Vanilla Oak (pictured above) one of her most popular bars and I read her description:

“Not only does it make you smell incredible, it cures a crappy day, makes you feel like you've spoiled yourself for a change, and is known to induce romance.”

I will just say that in my experience this is a true statement and I will leave it at that. I quickly declared this to be my favorite soap. It is Vanillay, spicy, earthy, sexy, smell that I can’t even properly describe. Then a little while later I decided to buy some of her soap to give as gifts to my friends. I tried to think about what they would want and ordered a bar of the Cucumber and a bar of the Gardenia. Both smelled amazing, and I had to really talk myself into giving them away as planned. I came very close to keeping them for myself, but I was a good girl and gave them to my lucky friends who LOVED them by the way.


Since then I also tried the Orange Blossom and Magnolia and said, “Now this is my new favorite!” and was torn between wanting to smell like the vanilla oak and loving the orange blossom. That is until today, when I opened the Lakeshore (pictured above). I seriously can’t stop smelling myself right now! It’s fresh, beachy, a little floral, again hard to describe; you will just have to order a bar and smell it for yourself. Her soaps are all handmade, using only quality ingredients. The soaps come in guest sizes all the way to large bars. Along with an amazing variety of soaps you can also find lotions and perfume oils in her shop. I haven't tried these yet, but you can bet I will soon!


Now if the fabulous soaps weren’t enough, she also makes fabulous jewelry! She has a variety of necklaces, earrings and stemware bangles too. She is a crafting machine!

I am still not done... She also makes awesome magnets! I know right? Does this woman sleep?? I have purchased her magnets for myself and as little gifts for friends. Not only are her magnets pretty, and fun, they are also really well made and strong. I have my eye on these right now:


But wait…I am still not done! Her latest shop addition: Fabric!


“I have recently acquired some of my Mom's fabrics from her stash. After 70 years of sewing, hundreds of weddings, countless needlepoint projects and as head costume designer for over 50 plays, musicals and operas she has accumulated quite a bit of fabric, notions, trims, laces, yarns and other items which I will be listing here.”

So if you are looking for handmade gifts, or something to pamper yourself with, or fun fabric, Crown Of Rue is a one-stop shop! Go check it out and good luck making a decision with so much fabulousness to choose from. Let me give you a tip: you really can’t go wrong it’s all awesome.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The First Clip-on Ornament



I love making my little birdies, but I am afraid that some folks may not know what to do with them. I am OK with putting something pretty on a shelf, but know that many people want a more functional piece of decor. So here it is, my first clip-on ornament! I bought alligator clips used for electrical work at the hardware store, then bent the end so it can be shoved up into the bird body. (That just doesn't sound right I know, but I don't know how else to describe it)
I made sure to glue the clips in place with 2 part epoxy. Those suckers are not going anywhere!



Then I did my usual beading process, and made a silver heart for the birdie's chest.



I also got a new signature stamp for my silver tag on the bottom. I feel like it is a much cleaner and more professional look. I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out, now one down 5 more in the works!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Do It: Things I Buy On Etsy #3



Ok I am fully aware that what I am about to tell you may cause you to stop following me and possibly make you a bit ill, but here is my morning routine:

My husband wakes up at about 5:30, I think. There is no way to know for sure as I am still very much asleep. He tries not to make too much noise and wake me up while he gets ready for work, bless him. At about 6:45 I wake up to the sound of the coffee grinder, and after a few minutes I will grab my phone from the nightstand and with one eye slightly open, I check the time. Now here is the worst part, while my husband is making his lunch in the kitchen, I text him one word: COFFEE. A few minutes later he comes down the hall with my coffee (1 ½ packets of Stevia and a splash of 2% milk) in my favorite mug with my favorite mug cozy. I know, I am the worst sort of princess; lazy and demanding, but he does it, so what does that say about him? (Don’t tell him I said that)
I spend the next several minutes propped up in my bed with pillows sipping my coffee, checking email and planning my day. What is a better motivator than a good cup of coffee first thing in the morning? A cup of coffee that tells you to Do Epic Shit!



This is knotworkshop and one of my favorite shops on Etsy. She calls herself a hooker, and man what a hooker she is! I imagine she can crochet in her sleep, and her fingers must be worn down to the nubs. In her shop you will find a plethora (yeah that’s right, I said plethora) of mug cozies, ipod cases, gloves, scarves and more. Her work is not just funny, smart, and bright, it is also very well made. Knotworkshop is a quality hooker folks. So go check out her shop ASAP and give your cup of coffee a makeover and maybe, just maybe, you will Do Epic Shit on a daily basis just like me.



http://knotworkshop.etsy.com

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Controlled Chaos?



Nope, out of control total chaos. This is my studio space, and if cleanliness is next to Godliness well I guess I am rubbing elbows with good 'ol Lucifer right about now.
I heard myself talking to my friend on the phone yesterday while trying to find something on my work bench:
"I swear I don't know how it got this bad, it just sort of happened." As soon as the words came out of my mouth I knew who I sounded like. I sounded like every single person on every episode of "Hoarders". They all say the same thing: "I don't know how this happened, I just woke up one day and it was like this", and as my pal Lucifer over here is quick to point out, that is a total lie. I know exactly how it got this way, I got busy and I got lazy. He would also like to point out that Martha Stewart would never let this happen. Man he can be a real jerk sometimes!


So this is my studio and my main workbench which you can't even see under all of the stuff, I don't even have space to really work anymore, and do you want to know what the worst part is? Much like many of the hoarders on TV, once my hoard got to out of hand and I ran out of room to work, I moved my chaos to another location!



You have seen it before with a particularly bad hoarder...the house is packed and you think "wow it doesn't get much worse than that!" and then it does. The hoarder admits they have a second house packed to the rafters. Well my hoard has now migrated into the house and onto the dining room table. This is how it starts people! Pretty soon I will stop going into my studio all together. I will simply walk away and like the first hoarder house I will pretend it does not exist. It will quickly become a home for spiders, opossums, and the occasional hobo. I killed a black widow in there yesterday, so it already well on the way.
Now is the time for me to admit this is a problem and stop it before it gets worse. Much like the "certified organizer" lady who walks in to a hoarder's home with that deer in headlights sort of look on her face... you my reader are witness to my issues. I will be cleaning up my act, and hopefully posting pictures of a beautifully clean and organized studio soon. Or I am all talk and nothing will change, if that is the case...pretend this post never happened.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Things I Buy On Etsy #2



About seven years ago we threw an awesome party for about 170 people. We had a live band, plenty of home brew beer, and amazing food…Oh yeah, and we got married. I have a big family and we are all really close, so it was a given that my wedding would be no small affair. I thought it was important to spend money on what mattered; food, booze, and a band. I had no idea that the flowers would be such an issue. The poor little hamster running the squeaky wheel in my head had to work overtime, but I finally realized, all of those people would have to sit somewhere. That meant lots of tables…and all of those tables had to have centerpieces. So after adding it up I went to the florist with the number of centerpieces I would need and she gave me a ballpark figure for how much that would cost… Then the hamster fainted.
This is where Hydrangeas come into this rambling story…see I do have a point! We decided to use one large hydrangea for each center piece, yes they were inexpensive, but in the end the tables looked so beautiful I could not imagine doing anything else. Naturally I now have a special place in my heart for hydrangeas. When I saw this necklace in Candice’s shop I just had to have it.



Every time I wear it I think of my wedding day, I know..awwwww. Her jewelry is just beautiful and the quality is outstanding. Here is a little quote from her profile:

"I love to hammer, shape, connect, patina, and texture metals. I purchase most of my findings such as wire and raw brass chain. I then put my own patina on it, make my own headpins and earwires. I love working with fine silver, forming it and fusing with a torch. Then comes the real fun of designing something with it!"

Not only does she make exceptional jewelry, she is also a great pleasure to work with. She has a wonderful selection of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and more. Go to her shop and check it out right now…hurry…I’ll wait.



http://www.etsy.com/shop/candies64

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ohhhh Christmas Treeeee


It’s quite possible this will be my last blog post. If you don’t hear from me in a few days it’s safe to say my husband smothered me in my sleep and this post will become “exhibit A” during his trial. Why would my loving hubby try to kill me you ask? It may have something to do with humming Christmas carols in July..and the jury just sided with him.
“Not Guilty your honor, she had it coming. This man has been punished enough”

In my defense, I have to start making my Christmas ornaments now since they take so long to make, and I want to have a lovely assortment of holiday cheer in my Etsy shop this year. Sitting here making beaded ornaments takes me right back to Christmas crafting with my Grandma, and that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. So as I break into yet another round of “Oh Christmas Tree” I'll let all the fond holiday memories flow through my mind. I’ll just be sure to sleep with one eye open.

Oh Christmas Treeeee Ohhhh Christmas Treeeee....something something... La La La

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Is Something Burning?




A while back, I woke up to a typically beautiful sunny Ojai morning. My son was still asleep (miracle) and I was looking forward to sipping my coffee and enjoying the rare quiet time to myself.
As I walked down the hall toward the kitchen I caught a faint whiff of smoke. My heart jumped and I rushed into the kitchen to find the source. Did my husband leave something on the stove then go to work? Wait…he doesn’t cook. I checked all of the appliances, but nothing was burning. “Maybe I'm having a stroke.” I said to myself (yes I talk to myself…don’t judge). Without finding a source of the smoke I went back down the hall to peel back the layers of blankets on the bed so I can find the dog, and force her to get up and go out. We walked back down the hall (she gave me major stink-eye the whole way) back to the kitchen. I shoved my irritated dog out the door, and again I could smell something burning! It was much stronger and I started to panic, what could I be missing? I sniffed every inch of the kitchen like a deranged rabbit...nothing.
I decided to move to the dining room. Nothing looked out of place. The sun was shining on the big dining room table and my bead work was still sitting there from the night before. I decided to bring the piece I was working on inside so I could work late without freezing to death in my little garage nook..er...artist’s studio. Of course the cat decided that my work cloth on the dining room table was the perfect spot to take a nap in the sun. For obvious reasons, he is not allowed on the table (I don’t really like cat hair in my breakfast cereal) so I stalked over ready to give him a piece of my mind. As I got closer I noticed the magnifying glass/light I use to see all of my teeny tiny beads was still on the table...in the direct sun...positioned over my sleeping cat...and his butt was smoking!!!
The worst part was, Geronimo or "Geri" (pictured above), the laziest cat on the planet was still asleep! I pushed the magnifying glass out of the way and smothered the smoking spot with a cloth. Finally, Geri woke up with a start, and glared at me as if to say, “look lady I am trying to sleep here” to which I replied, “Well your ass was on fire so...your welcome”. I think if he was capable of giving me the finger right then, he would have.
Later I called my mom and told her how I nearly set the cat on fire, and she reminded me:
“Well you remember when Maniac (our cat) sat on my plate of two-part epoxy and your Father had to cut the plate off his rear. Cats and crafts don’t mix”

True that.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Things I Buy On Etsy



Yes I have a shop on Etsy.com, but I am also a buyer. I can’t tell you how many things I see on a daily basis and think…I MUST have that! What a wonderfully diverse and talented group of amazing artists, crafters, vintage finders and all around fabulous people. I decided to start a new series of regular posts showcasing my purchases on Etsy. I love the idea of finding unique handmade goods, ordering custom work and supporting people who love to make things or are living their dream of working for themselves. I have quite the collection already and as I buy these wonderful goodies I will try to take a snapshot of them and share them on this little blog, so you can see why my paypal account is always so low!

The first item I would like to showcase is a recycled paper mosaic made by Lauren Snyder of http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaurenSnyder
Not only is Lauren a dear friend of mine, she is also a fine artist. I wanted something special for my two-year-old son’s new "big boy" room. I wanted it to match the colors and d├ęcor I already had and I wanted it to be just for him with an "E" for Evan. I knew Lauren could make something special and she did!
Lauren collects used greeting cards, and other scraps of colored paper, and cuts them into little paper tiles. She paints her design on canvas and then mosaics with the recycled paper. What would have been trash is now a lovely piece of art! Her work is done with such detail and care; you can really see her artistic passion come through. Please check out Lauren’s Etsy shop and see her full collection of beautiful recycled works of art.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaurenSnyder

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Upcycled Box Project *Last Update*


All of the accent pieces have been glued on. I have added rhinestones, flowers, leaves, bees, butterflies, and more. Now it is all background work. I will not be posting another picture until it is done! Stay tuned!