Sunday, November 29, 2009

So into Sewing right now!

Maybe it's the weather, getting a little chilly here, but I am really excited to be altering, embelishing and remaking my wardrobe.

 I love this purple sweater, but it is a little too short and leaves my back cold.  It needs a soft, sheer, ruffly skirt thingy (technical terms, ya' know) to fancy it up a bit.  I might also embellish the neckline and cuffs, but first I'll finish the bottom and see where that leads me.

I have had this lightweight sweater for ages.  The scarf will be fluttery sleeves (I think this scarf was my Gram's).  A "new" vintage button and some delicate beading around the neckline will make this plain sweater a little more fabulous.

I recently joined an altered artwear group on yahoo.  Check them out!  If you love the magazines Altered Couture or Belle Armoire, you will want to join this group.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, November 20, 2009

*8 Things: Your Creative Rhythm

My creative rhythms... I've actually been thinking about this alot lately.  Especially in the mornings when I'm so MIS-focused and the kids need to get to school.

1.  I'm a morning-ish person.  I don't wake up super early, but after coffee and reading a little of something, I just want to get to work.

2. Clutter distracts me.  A quick 5 minute pickup around the house and my focus is greatly improved. 

3.  Dust... what dust?  It's taken me years, but I really am letting go/trying to let go of the need for pristine, shiny clean all through the house.  My studio is clean, my kids rooms are war zones.  Set your priorities and choose your battles.

4.  Establish boundaries.  For me, it's my physical space.  Anything that is not mine or doesn't have a reason to be here, gets put outside my studio.  With kids ages 7 and 9 this is tricky, but asking "Does this belong here?" usually works.

5.    Make a plan, and then go with the flow.  I make lists (the hourly scheduling thing doesn't appeal to me), but sometimes I find the thing that doesn't make it on the list - a necklace, a painting, whatever - jumps to the front of my brain.  If I stick to the list I can putter along,  but if I give myself the freedom to skip the list, that other "thing" usually rockets out, gets done and rocks.  I've tried explaining this to non-creative types, but they don't get it.  Maybe it's a procrastinator/non-conformist thing.

6.  Make a plan, and stick to it...contradictions, I know... for the boring stuff.  I've started using a whiteboard on my fridge for meal planning.  These are not gourmet meals, people, but thinking ahead for a dreaded chore really helps.

7.  Accept your creative process may be different than anyone else, find ways to make it work for you.  I jump around between many techniques and mediums and work on several projects at once.  I have at least 5 necklaces in my head, I have pieces for most, but am still looking for some special accents.  So I bought 5 necklace design boards to layout everything, so I can get keep working and spend less time packing/unpacking, moving and sorting the same beads.

8.  Ask for help.  See number 1.  7:00 to 8:30 am are pure torture for me - getting the kids up, dressed, non-stinkified and to school on time is a battle.  Lots of yelling and overall grumpiness because I am conflicted.... I want to get to work, my brain and hands are ready... and they are kids.  Any suggestions for making mornings better for all of us.  Beyond me getting up earlier and making charts for the kids, those I know, I just need to, and WILL, implement.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A blog post about Blogging

Well, friends, I did something kind of sneaky to you.  I installed an invisible "stat counter" on my blog, so I could see if there really was anybody out there... And I found out that there is!!!!!  And it was really easy to do!  So thank you so much for reading the random tidbits, projects and ramblings of my life.

Every so often I need to refocus and get into something new and this time it's blogging.  Of course, for me, starting anything new involves buying books.

First, Diane Gilleland, the creator of CraftyPod, has a great e-book called Making_A_Great_Blog.   It covers all the basics, there is a 8 page worksheet pack, and lots of extra links on her site.    Definitely worth the $$.  After I've implemented more of her suggestions, I will order the e-books on creative marketing and social media.

But I don't think I will ever be a huge fan of the e-book format, because there is nothing that beats the smell and feel of a brand-new book, and this one is Pretty, too...  Blogging for Bliss: Crafting your own online journal, by Tara Frey, has lots of great information, plus eye candy - great photos for her blog and others, interviews with other successful creative bloggers, and tons of cool links to check out.

I have some changes in mind for debvandet designs, based on these sources:  ideas to improve  my photography, new banner,  some more interactivity - like give-aways,  swaps or some challenges.

What would you like to see here?  What do you think makes a great blog?

Monday, November 9, 2009

You Are Beautiful Necklace on White Linen

YouAreBeautiful on White Linen
Originally uploaded by debvandet

I have been learning so much about photography in the past few days. Honestly, it does not come naturally to me, but I am enjoying exploring some of the free editing features on PicNik. I like how the linen texture shows through the transparency.
      The new image, on the left, is much more dramatic.  I used autofix, straighten, adjusted color and contrast. A good  little experiment for a tummy-ache day.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Some new goals...

I have been thinking a lot lately about my goals. My fall shows were really disappointing, so I know that I need to refocus my "product" or my attitude. Comes back to that whole art/craft, love/money... grossly simplified into this dichotomy, but I sure many other artist/crafters struggle with this. How do I define artistic and creative success?

Several intense conversations with the hubby ended up with me in tears. I feel I need to make sales to justify my status as an artist and there is so much out there now about marketing that supports the idea that financial compensation validates our creativity. The days of the starving artist are over thanks to the wonders of technology. We can email, blog, facebook, Flickr, Etsy, and Art Fire our way to success. (Those are the only ones I've done - that's my limit :})
Diane Gilleland of Crafty Pod did a great interview with Paul Overton of Dudecraft about crafting for money or passion that really affected me. Go listen! Seriously, go listen... I'll still be here.

So, they inspired me to give myself a break from my previous goal of a show a month (hey - I did 3 in October - that should tide me over and I'll pick up in February if I'm ready). Instead, I am going to focus on making what I want to make, blissing out in my process, maybe playing, not yelling at my kids. And I am going to work on some of my skills, mainly polymer clay, photography, blogging, and soldering (okay, that list could go on FOREVER... there are so many new things I want to learn).

Part of my photography problem is lighting. Setting up everything out on the deck... in Oregon... in the fall equals chilly and very wet, not good for me or my jewelry, so I am making a light box.
Here it is - in process! With the resident cat investigating (my silly iPhone photo) and now sleeping in it. Tissue paper, white or pale gray posterboard, my 2 clamp-on lamps with Ott Lite bulbs and I will be ready to rock!
If you want to make one too, here are the two great links I found:
Inexpensive Light Tent and Strobist $10 Light Box They explain it so well, I don't need to paraphrase for you.

I don't really have an answer to my question: How do I define artistic and creative success? Being artistic and creative are essential to my view of myself and my world, so if I feel artistic and creative, could that in itself be my success?