Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, and Mother Henna's heART exchange

I participated in Mother Henna's heART Christmas art exchange last month. I was paired up with Bev Baird for this fun endeavor. She was so thoughtful in sending me a watercolor she has painted that will match my teaching studio perfectly. I love it and hopefullyBev and I will continue to keep in touch by visiting each other's blogs. It was fun to meet her through this swap.
I struggled with what to send her way for a little while. You see, I got distracted.

I have signed up to walk the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure in 2010. This is a huge fundraising commitment. In order to participate, I need to raise $2,300. I feel very strongly about the importance of funding the fight for a cure. I also like the 3-day events because they raise breast cancer awareness as well as funds. Some of you may know I have been involved with the 3-day events since 2004 as both a walker and a crew member. When I walk in San Diego it will be my 13th event. I'm terrified at the prospect of raising so much money in Michigan with the state of our economy, but I am committed. I have done some brainstorming for fundraisers and have constructed a list of both tried and true things, and a few things I'm hoping will work. One of my brainstorms was to compile a cd of me performing Christmas music. I have 2 degree's in music and make my living playing and teaching music so this was something I thought this would be a wonderful way to share my talents and help me toward my fundraising. I did a quick investigation on what kind of copyright laws there are and a quick look through my many stacks of Christmas music. I found out I'd need a mechanical license to be copyright legit, and one of the publisher's who I have a bunch of music from had an online form to apply for the license. I quickly filled it out, just glancing through the music and thinking, "Well, that looks like it'd be nice." To my suprise, I got a reply back within hours telling me the fee that would be involved for my very limited production run and it seemed very reasonable so I started practicing. (Silly me had picked out some songs I'd never even played through before!) I bought a USB mic and set things up in my office so I could record at home on my beloved piano. Things were going slow, but they were progressing when disastor struck. The motherboard in my laptop quit working. Done, kaput, finite. Oh Crap!

My sis came to my rescue and loaned me her laptop for the rest of the recording process. Recording really is much harder than I thought, but I'm starting to get the hang of all the levels and tricks. Since it was already late November, I was on a very tight schedule. I wanted these out in time that people would buy them for this Christmas season. My stress level was pretty high but I kept working at it. When I needed a break from actually playing/recording the music I was working on liner notes and buying the blank cd's and labels.

I sat down one morning to design the cover art for the cd. I kept tossing around ideas that involved the pink ribbon, but nothing was sparking my interest enough to get to work. Then I was thinking about Christmas in general and the idea of a simple snowflake jumped in my head. It wouldn't leave so I pulled out my paints, made a pink, mottled backgroun with watercolors and then used acrylics and gel pens to make the actual snowflake. From there I scanned it, photoshopped my title and name and this is what it looks like.

I ended up making 2 volumes of music. Vol. I is a grouping of upbeat, faster music with some jazz added into the mix. Vol. II is full of soft, flowing "pretty" music. I have sold out of my Vol. II's and only have about 4 Vol. I's left. This fundraiser has been a wonderful start and I am now over half way to my goal! Not only that, I have recorded my first 2 CD's and gotten incredible feedback from people that have purchased them! What a great experience.
So, to make the connection to the start of this post, Bev received a copy of each CD for her gift in the exchange. It wasn't a typical art exchange item, but I sure put my heart and soul into making the gift. I received a nice email saying how much she enjoys them and that makes me very happy.
If you've never heard of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure I urge you to look into it. It is a life changing event.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Portable Art Journal Kit

I've been having a wonderful time in my new "Art Palace." While I have spent some time working on arranging things to where they are more conducive to accomplishing my projects with less hunting around, I have also been working in my Art Journal. I was skimming through the book "Journal Spilling" by Diana Trout and came across the concept of putting together a journaling kit with the bare basics so that everything truly required is within arms reach. I thought that was a great idea since I have the worst habit of starting something, deciding I need such and such, going to find it, getting distracted with something totally different and never really finishing my journal pages.

I had this old Whitman's chocolate tin lying around (somehow it survived the purging of stuff from the basement) and its just the right size. I base painted the sides of the tin, collaged the top with some awesome art paper I had laying around. I used chipboard/plastic letters I've been collecting to put "Art Journal Kit" on the front and then painted my name above it because I didn't like the open space at the top. I had a face I sketched Sunday while waiting for a bible class to begin laying nearby and I glued that on as well. I then added some rub and buff to soften the edges of the face. I went around all the lettering with black marker to help the words stand out from the busy background better. Its got glue sticks, pens, markers, pencils, scissors, some lace/ribbon scraps, gum wrappers, etc. inside. I can't say that I still dont reach for things outside of the kit while I'm journaling, but this has definetly helped me to get started without a 10 minute gathering of materials ordeal.

What tricks or pointers can you share with me to make art journaling more spontaneous? I'd love to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A New Banner with a Gentle Reminder

I made this banner over the summer by cutting newspaper into diamond shapes, folding them over a length of string and Modge Podging the heck out of them. I meant to decorate and hang them shortly after making it but as it was, by the time the glue dried I was off in a different direction and didn't come back until today.

I've been reading McCabe's creative assignment and although I haven't decided if I want to commit to every assignment, reading about hanging something pretty inspired me to pull out the banner and finish it up. (Having the new art studio to work in, and hang it in also made me excited about this process.) I chose the phrase "Enjoy Today" because I need to remind myself to truly do that. At this point, I can recognize the beginning signs of a bout with depression. I am doing everything I know of to keep this attack at bay and then some, but truly, to "Enjoy Today" is something I struggle with even when my depression is at a "good" level. I let little things consume me with worry and and when I see a calendar full of committments I get very overwhelmed and anxious. I need to live in the moment and I'm trying. Its very frustrating to know these things and still have my mind succumb to being pulled down to the depths of despair. I guess we all have different demons we need to deal with in life and this is one of mine.

Sorry this is a bit of a downer post. I do hope that you were able to enjoy today and also to continue doing the same thing every day of your life. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New Art Space

I went on a cleaning spree in our house that started in the fall and continued until I had gutted our attic and basement of stuff. I'm not sure what we were thinking when we moved into the house 13 years ago, but we seemed to have kept every box anything we'd ever bought. Our attic was full of them. (And plenty of other junk as well.) I spent 2 weeks cleaning and organizing that area and felt such a sense of order and happiness that I tackled the basement shortly after finishing the attic.
Our basement had furniture built in. No, not like a dining nook built into the walls, but old, yucky, uncomfortable upholstered furniture from the 1950's actually stuck down there because some previous owners changed the entry to the basement and it would not fit up the stairs to get taken out! We had a sofa, 2 chairs, a refridgerator, and a stove/oven stuck down there. Not to mention a shower stall that sat just underneat the live electric lines. (That has to be up to code, right?!) That's why we haven't done anything about the situation until now. I finally thought "Hey, that's alot of wasted space that I could really have fun using" so I developed a plan. My first plan was-hey it'd be fun to smash the furniture with a sledgehammer. So I found a sledgehammer, took aim at a chair, swung with all my might and the hammer bounced right off the damn chair. I returned the hammer to its spot and noticed my hubby's sawsall. New Plan!!
I actually had a blast cutting the furniture up and was able to even physically do almost all of the removal by myself. My hubby got in on the very tail end of the action by cutting the metal beams of the sofa and he hauled that out. With the furniture gone, I started putting my misc. craft things in totes and cleaning. I must have sparked something in my hubby because after he saw the space that getting rid of the furniture created and discussing putting in an art area down there I asked him if he could run an electric plug and a cable wire for me. He did so much more.
He and his dad worked on the space for about a month. They removed the cheap, damaged panelling and drywalled my 2 inner walls. Gave me about 10 electrical outlets, a cable line, and installed 3 times the lighting that was down there. (I'm still not sure how I got all of that after asking for so little!) My FIL also said he could build me some workbenches and asked me what I would desire in them. So, after a few discussions, I opened my Christmas gift from him and my MIL and found a picture of one of the completed benches. (There are actually 3 so I can change the configuration if I want to!) What a wonderful gift!!
I knew I wanted to store totes under 2 of the benches and I didn't want to see them so I decided I would hang fabric to cover them. That's where the color scheme originated. I looked for just the right fabric and found 2 I loved. One in oranges and pinks and the green/blue/purple combo you see. I bought all they had left and it worked out just about perfect. After selecting the fabric, I took it to the paint counter and had them mix me the blue and purple for the walls, and my favorite, the lime green for the floor paint. I thought my hubby's eyes were going to bulge out of his head when he came back and she had just popped the top after mixing and he saw the color! So after lots of cleaning and painting and arranging I now have an art workspace that I never imagined having. Its amazing! So here's what I got, Pic 1 is my awesome workspace. Its 18 feet long and hides a bunch of storage totes. Pic. 2 is "media control" so I can veg out if I want. Pic. 3 is my storage area. It still might undergo some tweaking to make it more appealing to look at daily, but its a great start. Pic. 4 is my "relaxation station" complete with our wine storage. (I gotta remember to move a corkscrew down there!) Pic. 5 shows the only section not done. I still need to paint the floor and organize that corner. The wine barrels will go there and also the smaller wine racks.
Thanks you so much for taking the time to stop by and read what I'm up to. I'm feeling very lucky right now and still just in shock that its all mine. Sometimes life gives you amazing things and this area for me is such a blessing.
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