Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for...

Z is for ZEBRAS. This may seem like such an obvious Z word but I really love ZEBRAS and the beautiful black and white graphic pattern of their coats. I own so many items from my lunch box to my cell phone cover that are reproductions of this beautiful animal's coat. Like our fingerprints, no two ZEBRAS are alike. Can you imagine how many infinite patterns there are? Artists and photographers have recreated their graphic interpretations of ZEBRA skins for centuries.

And last but not least, my last doll does have a name that begins with the letter Z and her name is ZORA. 

Enjoyed the challenge this year.

Y is for...

Y is for..."We all live in a YELLOW SUBMARINE" by the Beatles.

I apologize for another nostalgia trip, but this was part of my generation.

Due to the popularity of the Beatles, this 1968 animated film voiced by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Star did fairly well at the box office and it's psychedelic, pop art images generated a new interest in animated film as an art form.

 Some of the songs from the film listed below are still used over 40 years later in a lot of the commercials we see and as background music in film and television.

All songs written by Lennon–McCartney, except where noted.
  1. "Yellow Submarine" – 2:38
  2. "Hey Bulldog" – 3:14
  3. "Eleanor Rigby" – 2:06
  4. "Love You To" (George Harrison) – 3:01
  5. "All Together Now" – 2:10
  6. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" – 3:28
  7. "Think for Yourself" (Harrison) – 2:18
  8. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" – 2:02
  9. "With a Little Help from My Friends" – 2:44
  10. "Baby, You're a Rich Man" – 3:03
  11. "Only a Northern Song" (Harrison) – 3:27
  12. "All You Need Is Love" – 3:57
  13. "When I'm Sixty-Four" – 2:37
  14. "Nowhere Man" – 2:44
  15. "It's All Too Much" (Harrison) – 6:28

In 1969 the YELLOW SUBMARINE soundtrack was the 10th album released by the Beatles in the United Kingdom.

I was able to share this film with my kids when they were growing up and they have shared it with their kids. The YELLOW SUBMARINE is timeless and fun. Just wanted to share some of the crazy artwork from the movie here. For a long time I thought it was the work of Peter Max but I later discovered that he did not work on the film. Click on the word YELLOW or any of the photos for a link to the trailer or the soundtrack. Y is for YELLOW SUBMARINE.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

X is for...

X is for XANADU. The letter X is always a hard one but I kept thinking about the 1980 movie XANADU starring Michael Beck, Olivia Newton John and Gene Kelly.

 I remember taking my kids to see it. They liked anything that had to do with music and fantasy.

As I remember, the movie didn't do that well at the box office  but it was entertaining.
The one thing that I always remembered about the film was that it loosely referenced the nine Greek Muses who bring inspiration to artists, historians and scientists.

Every now and then the movie comes on television and it's still fun to watch and I've been able to share it with the next generation, my grand kids. X is for XANADU.

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for...

W is for WORKS IN PROGRESS and for WHAT IF. With the economy in such a mess for the last several years I've been happy to be able to supplement my income by selling some of my artwork. I have a job with fluctuating hours but instead of being a victim and feeling sorry for myself, I decided to use the down time to work for myself.

My whole life I've worked with fabrics, textiles and art materials. I've been sewing since I was 9, I made all of my own clothes for years and designed theater costumes for almost 25 years. There is something about fabric and cloth that brings out the best of my creativity. One of my favorite challenges last year was buying a 12 yard bolt of plain white muslin fabric and seeing how many different projects I could turn it into using textile paints and embellishments.

The hardest part for me is to stay focused. There are so many ideas going through my head every day and I have a bad habit of starting new things and not finishing them right away. This is not good if you're making items to sell. A table full of half finished products just isn't marketable. I always have WORKS IN PROGRESS. Right now is the season for outdoor festivals and events and I have a number of them coming up over the next few months and then the harvest and holiday fairs begin.

Every project I begin makes me think of a half dozen more that I would love to design. I keep an idea book in my purse where I jot down ideas, make sketches and doodles so that I don't forget. Inspiration comes from the most unlikely places sometimes. I have a 45 minute drive to and from work and at times something I see, it could be a billboard or a bumper sticker, will trigger an idea. I can't write while I'm on the freeway, so now I turn on my mini voice recorder when I get in the car.

Every project starts with WHAT IF. I will put together a pile of "raw materials" on my bed or on my work table and imagine WHAT it can become. WHAT goes with WHAT, WHAT mood or idea do I want the finished item to communicate. WHAT IF the doll could be a mermaid or a princess or an African storyteller. Or WHAT IF the quilt could be a picture of a beautiful sunset or a lighthouse with the ocean in the background. WHAT IF is the seed of creativity. When I was a little kid playing with my friends, our make believe games always seemed to begin with WHAT IF. "WHAT IF you be the pirate and she's the mermaid" or "WHAT IF the front porch is the ship and the lawn is the ocean." Children's playtime is so critical to the development of creativity. Our children need more time to imagine the WHAT IFS in their lives and less time being handed prepackaged, virtual worlds imagined by someone else.

My current WORKS IN PROGRESS are items for Mother's Day next month. I have two show coming up. I have a lot of dolls and other items that are ready to sell but I want to add some fresh seasonal ideas. In one of the business classes I took a few years ago the instructor said "you either sell the public what they want or you make the public want what you sell." Knowing what the public wants can be a challenge and I'm still and artist so I have to be true to myself. I try to do a little of both. Knowing what category my art business falls into is important and adding a few popular and commercial items helps make sales.

In order to make myself stay focused and get more done I have been disciplining myself and making myself stick to a color palette and a theme for each project. For my Mother's Day gift items I have narrowed my focus to a color palette of blues, yellows and white and decided on a country garden  theme. You have no idea how difficult this is for me because I could take this in so many directions. My mantra is 'stay focused, stay focused, stay focused'.

                                                                                                                                                                         My piles of 'blue, yellow and white raw materials' are cotton fabrics, ribbons, lace,

and decorative papers. I wanted to do yellows and blues for a change instead of the traditional shades of pink most often used for Mother's Day.

So, now it's back to work for me. I will share my WORKS IN PROGRESS and my finished projects over the next few days.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for...

Time is short tonight. I'm working hard to get ready for a show next week, hopefully a windless one. Just enough time for one small V. V is for VIERA and VANESSA, two of my favorite dolls. VIERA was adopted last year and I know she is making another home happier. V is for VIERA and VANESSA.

U is for...

U is for UNFLAPPABLE. I had the hardest time coming up with something that began with U that I wanted to write about. I decided to use an online dictionary for inspiration and I found the word UNFLAPPABLE. It's not a word that I use very often and I have to admit that the sound of the word makes me smile.

The definition is: "one who is marked by assurance and self control, persistently calm, when facing difficulties or experiencing success; not easily upset or excited; imperturbable; composed."

I love this word. It would be so nice to be UNFLAPPABLE when dealing with life's daily stress, especially at work. I can think of people I've had to work with that always know how to push your buttons and drive you crazy. To be an UNFLAPPABLE person would probably drive them crazy in return because they couldn't get to you.

Anyway, U is for UNFLAPPABLE.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for...

T is for THANKS. I am so overjoyed at how many people I've met on this year's A to Z Blog Challenge. I want to THANK everyone for the follows. It's almost doubled in the last three weeks THANKS to some extremely helpful advice about changing some settings. I promise to stay in touch I hope you will too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I only have two dolls whose names begin with "T", Tasha and Tia. Good night everyone, see you tomorrow.

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for...

S is for SOCIAL Media. I have a love hate relationship with SOCIAL Media. For a long time my knowledge of the Internet was pretty basic. I only used it for work related projects. My one and only email account was the closest I got to SOCIAL Media.

When I was taking some business classes a few years ago my classmates teased me because I didn't know what facebook was or the difference between Twitter and Tweety Bird. I had my blog page for a couple of years but didn't post very often and had no followers. Another friend advised me that for business purposes, SOCIAL Media was necessary to stay connected and for exposure. So, I took some time and I figured out faceboook and Twitter and created accounts. I found a lot of relatives I didn't know I had and a lot more information about them than I needed to know which supports the warnings about what kind of information should be shared publicly on the Internet.

I love the interaction with new people. I can post some of my work and get feedback and also new business leads but sometimes I kind of fall into a black hole. If I try to keep up with all of the different types of SOCIAL Media I lose track of time and hours go by. Then I get mad at myself because I really should have used the time to work on some of my projects. If I don't make it, I can sell it.

I now limit myself to only a few options and maybe an hour at a time three days a week and I try not to be tempted by so many of the side tracks that take me off into so many different directions. S is for SOCIAL Media.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for...

R is for REALITY TV. I have to admit that I am a REALITY TV Show fan. I used to tease my mom for watching American Idol, The Bachelor, The Apprentice and Survivor several years ago when there weren't so many of them on the air. I couldn't see the point of REAL people going before the camera to make fools of themselves or to make their very private lives, defeats and disappointments so public. I'm still not a fan of The Bachelor or Survivor but a few years ago I found myself rooting for a couple of teams on The Amazing RACE and I am now a regular follower. I am so envious of the opportunity that they have to see so many beautiful countries.

I then found myself enjoying the singing contestants on American Idol, The Voice and a few other singing competitions that I can't remember at the moment and because I am an artist and a designer I have also gotten caught up in the design challenges on HGTV, BRAVO and STYLE. I really identify with the creative processes that the designers go through to complete the various challenges they are given.

But wait, it gets a lot worse. I have also become a follower of two of the many Real Housewives Of...  programs. I won't say which ones but I now tune in every week to watch these silly people behave foolishly. I'm not ashamed, I admit it, I've become my mother. R is for REALITY TV.

R is also for my only R doll, Roxy.

I am getting ready to try a new doll design that I treated myself to. I bought a couple of Tilda's Ideas books and can't wait to learn how to make 'Tilda Dolls'. I hope I have one finished for "T is for..." on Tuesday. Have a great weekend.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for...

Q is for QUESTION. I've raised two sons and I have four grandchildren. All parents and grandparents know about the 'terrible twos' stage, the 'no to everything' stage and the 'fall out, screaming tantrum' stage of early child rearing. There is also the 'incescent "why?"' stage. I found this one more easily handled as a grandparent than as a parent. I watched both of my sons each go through it twice with clenched teeth and exhausted patience when their children were small, "but why daddy?" for the hundredth time in a day. I just smiled and thought "what goes around, comes around, it's your turn now". I also reminded them of how important the 'why stage' is when children are growing up. A child who QUESTIONS 'why' when they are little and receives a patient satisfying answer in return will have the courage to ask QUESTIONS as they are growing up and as adults rather than to always blindly accept things as they are. We want our children to grow up to be good leaders and to recognize when changes are needed and to be able to choose when to act on them.

So, if any of you have little ones in your life, remember that they will be in charge of the world you get old in.

Q is for QUESTION.

P is for...

P is for PRAYER as my thoughts and PRAYERS go out to Boston tonight as they are going through yet another violent experience.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

O is for...

O is for OMG!!! I 'tried' to do a craft show today but the wind was blowing 12 to 20 miles an hour with gusts up to 35. My tent kept blowing across the parking lot until I got the weights attached but the wind was determined to show me who was boss. I tried setting up my displays but a strong gust would hit and blow everything over. I had to fish my dolls out of the bushes twice and when it happened the third time I declared the wind the undefeated champion and gave up. My poor dolls were in a piles all over my tables and it looked like a war zone. The other vendors were struggling too. Even the vendors who had heavier crafts and merchandise had their tables blown over and some had breakage. Anyway, I apologized to the event coordinator and packed my tent and left. She had asked if I could just lay the dolls flat on the table, which looked terrible but just as she was making that suggestion, two of my dolls got caught in a gust of wind and blew into the booth next door. I told her that I couldn't sell anything that wouldn't stay on the tables. I packed up my girls and went home. OMG what a day.

O is also for more of my dolls, ONDINE and OLIVIA and yes, all of my dolls are hand made by me.
Good night all.