Monday, August 29, 2011

I want to be cooler than tv...

I have about a bajillion irons in about a bajillion fires right now.

(That I work on exclusively during Elsie's two daily half hour naps. The second she closes her sleepy little eyes a whirlwind of work is unleashed in my studio.)

Here's a peek at one of the smaller projects I'm doing this week: Here, go ahead and have seconds...

Which one is your favorite?

Personally, if I'm going to wear a t-shirt, it might as well have a dinosaur on it.

Also, I can't get enough of this guy and his happy folky music:

I know you didn't just scroll on past that video.

Click it!

Watch it!

Learn the lyrics and sing it to your kids...

Especially when you're trying to get them to sleep so you can work on stuff that's way less important then them!

It will get stuck in your head and make you a slightly better person because of it's residence there!

--------------------------------------------------Post Edit---------------------------

I want to hold up my head with dignity, proud of a life where to give means more than to take.

I wanna be cooler than t.v. For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be We can be stronger than bombs If you're singing along and you know that you really believe We can be richer than industry As long as we know that there's things that we don't really need We can speak louder than ignorance Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

Monday, August 22, 2011

You can take a different road to the same place.

In New York City, I somehow managed to live, work, and play for two years without making any real lasting friendships. I didn't know anyone who was

1) My age

2) Married

3) Enjoyed church more than clubbing.

All of which are pretty much pre-requisite for being a friend of mine, because, believe me,

who you surround yourself with matters.

It's kind of remarkable really- In NYC I encountered hundreds of people every day, but connected with no one.

Now that I'm back in GA it's completely flipped. I'm home almost all day every day, and I encounter less than a dozen people a week (not counting church) but almost each and every one of those people are near and dear to my heart.

If my house were to burn down while I went to the mailbox I could walk a mile in any direction and find a close friend or relative.

Coming back to Georgia has also given me a chance to reconnect with friends I haven't gotten to see since we left the country years ago. It's so great to rediscover old friends, and remember why I loved them so much!

Of course, there are the occasional grocery store run ins with folks I kind of wish would fall off the face of the Earth.

(Bless their hearts).

But the lady at the post office (Doris) knows my name, and I have to plan weekends well in advance to make sure I have enough time for every one to get together.

There are some people who, no matter how much time passes since we last spoke, I'll still want to be friends with.

With a very small group of people, I can pick right up where we left off.

Some people are just classic.

This is me and my friend Mrs B when she was still Miss J and I was Miss L circa 1997 at Skate Country. 14 years later we are still totallllly awesome.

And so are our kids!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Why I Do What I Do: PART2

He asked me why I paint

I didn't really know how to answer.

I could not paint?

Since I first picked up a brush the thought hadn't occurred to me.

Why do I paint?

I tried to come up with a coherent answer.

My mind went back to when I lived in St Maarten.

In a tiny apartment in Cupecoy.

My car got stolen, and it wasn't safe to walk anywhere after dark.

I paint because some Haitian guys stole my car?

Little boxes watercolors were cheap at Van Dorp.

I paint because a dutch art shop was having a sale?

Peter could study all night long and I wouldn't mind that we didn't have cable because those long quiet hours flew by when I was trying to get the shades just right.

I paint because my hands just naturally seemed to understand how to move the brush.

I paint because it's easy?

I paint because it's natural?

He could see me kind of floundering to give an answer, so he changed the question a little.

When you start a painting is it for someone in particular?

Do you paint for yourself or for others?


All me.

Little pieces of my soul are tucked away in the brushstrokes.

There's a story behind every canvas.

Each piece is a mile marker on this (literal) journey I've been on for years.

It's taken me abroad.

It's brought me home.

It's blown me to the city, and swept me to a small town.

Some mark miles of darkness and depression,

some joy and friendship



It's all there

for anyone to see

my story laid bare in cyan and chartreuse.

I do what I do because it's what I was made for.

-----------Post Edit-------------------------------

I plan to tell the very true stories behind the paintings here in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Why I do what I do.

"The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career. " — C.S. Lewis

I can't put my daughter in daycare.

Not won't.

Simply can't.

My head, my heart, my entire being rejects the idea.

Being away from Elsie for more than a couple hours actually causes me pain.

Physical pain.

I become so anxious that my stomach churns, my head hurts, and my chest aches. I know women all over the world drop their babies off every day on their way to work, but I can't. I guess I'm not as strong as them. or something.

That is why I'm determined to contribute to our family's finances without leaving my daughter for hours on a daily basis.

Right now, I've got a list of over 100 things that I intend to do to ensure this endeavor is a success.

I'm only on step 7.

Yikes, I've got a long way to go, and a lot of work ahead of me.

But it's worth it, if it means I never have to let that little lady out of my sight.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

How To: Make an awesome Etsy Banner

Having a great banner for your Etsy shop might not make your shop an instant success, but it definitely doesn't hurt to have one that's awesome.

Your banner is like the shirt your shop wears.

What is it saying about you?

Is it saying that you are awesome, unique, and clever?

Is it saying that you really don't give a dern?

After settling more often than I'd like to admit on banners that really weren't very good (they were always blurry, or dull, poor quality, cookie cutter, hard to read, or infested with termites.) I think I've finally found a formula to make one that's just right (at least for me), and easily changed with the seasons or what have you.

And so I present to you

How I Made My Awesome Etsy Banner

First and foremost, keep in mind is that your banner is short and fat. It's supposed to be 760 x 100 pixels, but don't worry about that right now. I like to draw my banner out by hand. This is what my rough sketch looked like:

2) Next, I ran it through the scanner.

3) Time to croppity crop crop.

Now Etsy says to make it 760 x 100 pixels. Now I say phooey on this because EVERY SINGLE TIME I've ever uploaded a banner of this size it has been blurry and degraded, no matter how high res the original was. So, this is the absolute most important thing you can do:

Crop your image to 1140 x 150 pixels.

Do it!

Your mom called me and said it was ok.

This will keep your image from getting blurry & degraded. There is nothing worse than spending hours creating what you think is the perfect banner only to find that it looks nothing like the masterpiece you worked so hard on, after you've uploaded it.

Step 3) Once you've got your sketch cropped, open it up with your favorite photo editing software- I prefer but you can use whatever you're comfortable with.

Next, crank the contrast alllllll the way up.

Crank the brightness as far up as you can without losing too much quality.

Crank the contrast alll the way up AGAIN.

At this point you should have a pretty clean line drawing.

You can use this as your banner if you like black and white or you can use the "fill" tool to color your image in.

My banner is just a mish-mosh of the swirls that are in a lot of my paintings behind my store name, so I saved a copy of the black and white image, and now whenever I want to make a theme change, I can just recolor it. Come Christmas time, I can turn the banner red and green, or go patriotic for the fourth of July.

Hurrah for simple and easy customization!