Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sharpies and Sour Starbursts

Sorry I haven't posted much this week. I have been playing in my studio a lot, experimenting with different techniques for "The Book."

When I say "The Book" I hear a heavenly chorus of angels and a beam of light shines through the ceiling onto my keyboard. Conversely, when I say "The Deadline" I hear the flapping of vultures' wings and screeching, giving me the urge to tear out my hair in clumps and rend my clothing.

I think that this whole book thing is going to be a lot like having a baby without the stretchmarks. Like my mom says: If women could just go from conception to delivery and skip all the stuff in between, it'd be so much better. Not a bad idea, but I'd much prefer that we skip right up to the age when the kids can push the mower.

For reasons I hope are obvious, I can't share the stuff that will likely end up in "The Book." (Do you hear the angels? Listen....beautiful.) But I can show you the rejects I threw to the wayside that Conn found and embellished. I think his doodles improved them infinitely. He's a regular Dan Eldon. (God willing, my son will live a whole lot longer.)

I know what you're thinking, cute, even a little edgy, but come on. What about Judy Perez's kids? You know, Deb Silva's niece and nephew -- now that's a really talented family with some really talented kids. Nina can paint amazing portraits upon her first attempt and Ty can fold a perfect origami swan out of a piece of confetti.

True. But that doesn't change the fact that my kid is a genius with a Sharpie, ok? Did I mention that he can shove 17 Sour Starbursts in his mouth all at once? A doodler AND a performance artist.

Top that Ty.

See, Judy's not the only one who has borne prodigies. And I had them two at a time.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Is this how J.K. Rowling got started?

Just moments ago, I signed my name making it official.

The folks over at Interweave Press, the publishing company who owns Cloth Paper Scissors, as well as a slew of other great magazines, have had a serious lapse in judgement. They have signed Debbi Crane and me to co-write a book. Too late for them to back out now.

It's scheduled to come out next fall, but we have to be done waaaaaaay before that, like dang near a year before that. It will be chock full of mixed-up media projects, tips, techniques, and our own special blend of sass.

So exciting!

My biggest question is this: Who is gonna play us in the movie?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Arrivals

A while back, I asked for some opinions on whether or not I should produce my own line of rubber stamps. The idea has been gestating and growing thanks to your kind replies and encouragement. Above is a picture of what the stork brought today: three stamp prototypes. As you can see I received one mounted on wood (image measures precisely 1.5" square) and two unmounted (approx 1.5" x 2").

The unmounted ones are die cut and came with die cut foam pads with double stick tape on both sides. Once I mounted the rubber to the foam pad, I didn't even need to stick it to a block, it worked great. Picture a foam stamp with a rubber stamping surface - that's what it's like. In the pic above, I hadn't adhered the foam to the rubber yet, but you get the idea -- work with it, ok?

So here's my new super-scientific marketing question:

Mounted or unmounted - which do you prefer?

I have always purchased mounted, but they do take up a lot of storage space. I like being able to identify the stamp from the image on the block. I also think it will merchandise more nicely in a, ooh let's say some random store setting.

It was brought to my attention, however, that unmounted stamps offer some advantages - they are a little less expensive, take less room to store and allow stamping on surfaces that aren't flat like a book spine or a jar (10 gallon hat tip to Calamity Kim on that last point - never thought about that.)

I made three tiles today in honor of my newborn triplets: Lefty the Bird, Charlotte Deux (yes, Debbi, she's seasick), and Waiting to Hatch. With any luck, along with lots of care and feeding and late nights, they'll grow up into a full grown, commercially available stamp line. Stay tuned.
Hatch, the last one in the line up above, was stamped with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Antique Photo and then watercolored -- this is the same technique I described in the CPS eNewsletter, Embellishments. To see a couple more examples click here. You can sign up to receive Embellishments and get the latest info on products and techniques.
Now I gotta go and burp Lefty - he's a little refluxy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ten Tiles, Two Words

Here are the ten tiles I've completed since the last bunch I posted.

I went to a jewelry party tonight at a neighbor's house and ordered a really cool custom necklace from Michelle Rhodes. I can't wait to get it.

Turns out I have met Michelle before but didn't realize it until I saw her tonight. She makes really fabulous stuff. I could have bought a bunch, but stopped myself at one piece. Some of her necklaces are really chunky with big hunks of semi-precious stones on them, others are more delicate with words of the wearer's choosing stamped into them.

I chose a reversible charm with a smokey amethyst suspended from it that will have two words embossed on it - one on each side. I picked two words I thought were cute, but would love your suggestions.

It's an interesting exercise to try and sum yourself up in two words. My friend Lolo asked me what two words I thought she should put on her charm, I suggested "self" & "tanner" but she went with something else.

So at the risk of opening myself to some potentially painful reality: What two words do you think I should put on my charm? What two words would you pick for yourself?

As you are conjuring up some great words, I'll leave you with a simple request in the form of a two word quote from my dad: "Be nice." - Georgie Porgie (1983)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Norway? No Way!

Remember my 100th Poste give-away? Kirsten in Norway was the winner. Well, after some back order issues and a transatlantic flight, she's finally received her goodies -- she posted a pic, so glad to know that everything arrived in good order. I can now say with complete authority, tongue firmly planted in my cheek, that my work is collected internationally.

Be sure to check out Kirsten's 11 year old daughter's drypoint etchings on her proud mommy's blog, as well as Kirsten's wonderful stitchery there and at her other blog Kreativt Liv. It's not in English, but you can look at the pretty pictures, and if you are fluent in Norwegian, all the better.

I will be putting up some of these necklaces on my Etsy in the next couple of weeks. Don't worry, I'll remind you.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mail Cow

Got my Moo cards. Love 'em. Mean it.

I chose 5 designs, next time I might do 20 or 50! I might just go nuts and do 99 different designs and get surprised as to which design is repeated twice! They come in this really cool little plastic box with a Moo card that says: "Yay! You're our new best friend." So stinkin' cute.

I couldn't put my finger on why the size and proportion of these little ditties appealed to me so much. Then it hit me: Moo cards are the Wiener Dogs of the printing world!

Trumpet approves. Moo cards are winners. And they don't shed.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Seven Things That Rock

Deb Silva must be 100% again because she's back to her old tricks - tagging innocent bystanding bloggers. Sheesh! At least her tags are fun and don't require a lot of interspective thought. So, in no particular order:
Arrowmont - I'm going back in September for a weekend class, see link - more later

Transformers - I love explosions, and implosions too, it was a fun flick.
Moo Cards - I ordered mine, on the way Royal Mail 1st Class - high line, baby.

Michael Buble - He's coming to Atlanta, but unlike Judy, I would have to pay and see him with thousands of other people.

The Internet - I love the internet. I have made so many friends, virtually visited so many places and learned so much. It is absolutely the rockinest invention since the cell phone. I love flickr and Etsy and Technorati , so flippin cool! (Deb, check the rule book: does flippin cool qualify as rockin? If so, I've caught my limit and then some.)

Dachshunds - the dog of choice. Half a dog tall, two and a half dogs long. Special bonus points if they are standards, longhaired, male and named Trumpet.

Humor - I am blessed with a good sense of it, thanks to my wonderfully silly parents. I married someone with a sharp, dry wit and our boys make us laugh all the time. Sometimes intentionally.

Note to the first people who read this post -- you know who you are (you really don't but play along, ok? ) Tag, you're it. Leave your list in the comments.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Time Flies

Funny to think that I started this blog to journal my daily art and I haven't posted any pictures of it in almost a month. Also funny (and very gratifying) to look at the book I keep my tiles in and know I'm half way done.

Two days after I started this daily art journey, I found out that Carm was moving, but not until summer. Not until the kids were out of school and the house was sold and they found somewhere to live in DC. We had time.

The going away party is tomorrow and the moving truck comes a week from Monday. We are staring down the barrel of the unpleasant certainty that my friend and neighbor will be my friend who lives in DC in a little over a week.

Carm said she's just keeping busy and not thinking about it. Right now she is probably spackling all the little holes in the dry wall where her pictures hung, carefully painting over the patch so that it looks like it was never there; a gracious hostess even upon departure. It was Carmen I was thinking of when I made yesterday's tile (bottom row, third from the left.)

If I can presume that there is someone out there reading who has been with me since the first of the year besides my parents, you may recall that Carm had loaned me a priceless box filled with antique pictures and scrapbooks she'd acquired when living in England. She later told me to keep them, saying that "they were in a better place," as if they'd died and gone to photo heaven. After all, she explained, they'd been languishing in storage for years until I revived them.

I have made two gifts for Carmen from her gift to me. (And I returned her blender so she could pack it.) All of these presents are a surprise but surly she's too busy spackling and packing to read my blog.

The item below is a 1" square bezel (Provo Craft) that I put on a key chain. I did something I seldom do: I used the original print. I have scanned and preserved it for future use, but Carmen gets the original back. I look at it this way: if she can give me a whole box of these treasures without batting an eye, the least I can do is give some of it back to her. I didn't know if she'd wear a necklace, so this seemed like a good alternative, something she can use every day instead of wear occasionally.

I still have to trim out and frame them, but the other gift will be prints of these three pieces, all from what will be known as the Carmen Collection. I'll take a picture of them in the frame tomorrow before the party and put it up when next I post.

The last gift is store bought. It's a paper cutter. I bought it because it's the only thing of mine she consistently (as in about once a year) borrowed. A once a year paper cutter loan in exchange for what has to equate to at least one months shopping for a household of six. Goods that were ferried across the side yard by her children and mine, cups, cans and sticks at a time over the last five years. The grass between my front porch and her side door is going to grow again. And I'll have someone to visit in DC.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Praise from Praterland

No pix because with any luck you'll be seeing the piece in question at a newsstand near you, but I'm happy with the results of my Independence Day labors.

Better yet, Mark thinks it’s one of the best pieces I’ve done. He’s the one with the art degree, albeit in ceramics. But everyone knows all the hot guys are ceramics majors.

His comment meant a lot to me. Mark doesn’t praise my work often. He doesn’t praise anything often, me or otherwise. He’s just not like that. But if he does, he really means it.

On our wedding day, after I walked down the aisle and stood next to him, beaming, in all my bridely glory he looked at me in adoration and said: “You look nice.”



This dress cost my parents more than my first car! Nice? It took me four hours to get ready! It's my wedding day! How about beautiful or breathtaking or like something out of a heavenly dream? Nope. Just nice. Sheesh.

Oh well, he’s steady and true-blue, not one for doling out extravagant praise or flowery sweet nothings. Picture Mr. Spock from Star Trek with good hair and killer guns. That’s Mark. There’s only room for one of us in the freak-out/Greek-out category and that position is filled.

But he told me he liked it and that’s like getting an acceptance letter from the Guggenheim. On national TV. During Superbowl halftime. Being married to Mark Prater is....well, nice.

Mark enjoying his morning coffee.
p.s. We took the boys to see Transformers last night. If you're into action flicks, go see it - really fun to watch. It's kind of a family tradition for us, going to the movies on the 4th. Nothing says independence like $4 Skittles.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I have a Guardian Agent!

Ok, I admit I can be kinda snippy sometimes, but who knew I was Wickedly Chic?!

Just got word that one of my dimensional collages from Etsy is being featured on this really kitchy site. Wickedly Chic is "the hottest destination for shoppers seeking advice and product recommendations from the world of Indie design and fashion."

Well they have excellent taste. Thanks, Liz.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Etsy Bitsy News

I have hung up (and then changed and re-hung up) my shingle at Etsy. Need to support my Lakewood habit. Check it out. Feedback welcomed.

I have four items for sale currently -- with any luck they are pictured in my "Mini Etsy" in the right side bar. Two of these pieces were featured in Issue 12 of Cloth Paper Scissors.

And hey, if you have a favorite tile you'd like -- let me know. I'll do it up for ya.

New Cyber Skin

I updated my site, that's a screen capture up there, but you can click this link to check it out live. I think it looks kinda 40s or 50s. Mark said it looked disco -- and he said that like it was a bad thing. Conn said it looked too girly, again, disparagingly so. This is just one of the many problems of living with all males.

I killed the music per Reese's advice, so don't expect to hear anything if you go there. Otherwise, Reese said he liked it, but he wasn't too convincing. He was right about the music, though. It looped too fast and got monotonous very quickly. The butterflies provide enough distraction.

I like it. For now. It's been a year, it was time to molt.

Whatcha think?