Archive for May, 2009

This one of for Mrs. A, a wonderful customer who works hard to keep me in business 😉   She wanted the nature’s sketches styled clutch…and I think it turned out quite nice:

Adama Clutch 002

Adama Clutch 005

I've changed how I construct these: I'm very happy with the improved topstiching around the top of the bag!

Adama Clutch 003

Putting the stiffner where you can see it allows me to hide the final seam!

Adama Clutch 006

If my little one’s cough gets better, Mrs. A will have a special delivery tomorrow!

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Tie Dye Day Rude 09 016

Mr. Rude's 1/2 combo class, Smiley Elementary, 2009

The kids were happy to see their shirts we all dyed together yesterday! They really did these mostly by themselves (after a short reminder about the color wheel and a demo by me on Mr. Rude’s shirt) – the  only help most of them had was a reminder to check the bottom of the milk jug to see if dye had soaked all the way through!

Tie Dye Day Rude 09 039

Logan & Mr. Rude

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Another commissioned tote complete:

Liam turns 12 116 Liam turns 12 125Liam turns 12 132 

And yesterday was Tie Dye Day in my son’s 2nd grade class. This was fun, because I’d done this with the same teacher when my 6th grader had him for 2nd grade. Mr. Rude still has a picture of that class all wearing their shirts, and I’ll take one this afternoon! Here’s how I do the tie dye with the kids now, cut apart a milk jug and you have the perfect bowl to hold a swirled tee!

 Liam turns 12 136 Liam turns 12 137

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Post # 100!

Well, I can hardly believe it – but this is my 100th post! It kinda snuck up on me, and then I got “blog-block”, as I pondered what I could post about. As you may, or may not know, I’m a scientist, so data is always fascinating to me, so I thought I’d do a “Top Ten Random Bits of Info About This Here Blog” kind of list. I’d also like to thank people who’ve helped & inspired me to begin blogging in the 1st place, so I’ll have a list of those people too! And THEN, I’ll host a little celebratory giveaway as well, and not advertise it ANYWHERE but right here on the blog, so it will definitely favor the regular blog readers out there! Phew! A big post, but I’m up to the task…are you?

“Top Ten Random Bits of Info About This Here Blog”

  1. It took me 11 months to write 100 posts, so that’s an average of 9 posts a month, or over 2 a week. Of course, some weeks I had lots to say, and others I was kinda quiet, but not too shabby.
  2. I’ve had 22,700 views (I have no idea if wordpress stats include reads on a feed reader, that’s on my list of things to figure out…) but anyway – WOW! That’s an average of 227 views/post!
  3. My views have on average been growing the longer I keep blogging: 8,000 in 6 months of last year vs. 15,000 in 5 months this year.
  4. 441 people have commented (97 in response to my 1st giveaway), to that means that 345 times someone reading my blog felt they needed to respond to it – thank you, kind commenters!
  5. WordPress rocks: I’ve been protected by 276 spam comments, in a very painless manner.
  6. The post with the most traffic is the one where I describe how we made my dual sewing table: 3073 views! I hope it helps people make their own sewing table from $50 of lumber, rather than pay 1000’s for those particleboard covered with plastic things that never are exactly what you want anyway!
  7. The 2nd most popular post is the Recover an Office Chair tutorial, with 782 views. Note to self, get cracking on those tutes you’ve got planned (I even have all the photos for one…)
  8. Here’s a weird one, while the # 1 search term that finds my blog is “Candied Fabrics”, a close 2nd is “Bergamot”! Weird! I talk about bergamot when I made Liz’s Teahouse, but I’m confused as to  why someone looking for info on bergamot would click on over to my blog…
  9. Hours spent writing blogs – there’s NO WAY I’m want to know that!
  10. Most faithful commenter…although I don’t actually have numbers on this one, I’ll bet it’s my stepsister Pam!

“Top Ten Bloggers I’d Like to Thank (in alphabetical order!)”

  1. Beth of Sew, Mama, Sew!, especially for the mention of my sewing table that generates so many hits.
  2. Jan of Daisy Janie & Scoutie Girl: She is a wealth of info on all things sewing business related.
  3. Jane Davila of Chary Sprouts: I love her quiet, consistent style, and her Art House was a huge inspiration for mine, and started me down the road to 3-d art – I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m loving the journey!
  4. Jena of Modish & Modish Biz Tips: Lots of info on the indie design world and fabulous helpful starting your own  business tips.SHe lit a fire under my behind – I’ve purchased my domain name and have begun designing my own website!
  5. Kathy of Pink Chalk Studio: I’ve had great fun pattern testing for her, she’s gracious enough to let me sell notetakers made with one of those patterns, and she answers ALL my nosy questions about how her she’s developing her own fantastic business.
  6. Kathreen of Whip Up: Mentions on this blog also drive up the hit counts – woohoo!
  7. Lisa Call: She has amazing drive, and her personal story of developing her art is truly inspiring.
  8. Melody of Fibermania: Hands down, she has shared so much about artistic process on her blog – she truly is the person who has most allowed me to develop as an artist.
  9. Robin of Simply Robin: She pushed me to begin blogging by starting a group blog, and inspires me with every post she writes.
  10. Sue Bleiweiss: Her creative way of using Timtex (and it’s cheap cousin Peltex) get’s me thinking about textiles in a whole new way.

Another Celebratory Giveaway!

If you’ve made it this far, you’re in for a treat! I’d like to give away another Going Green Tote…so:

Going Green

  • Leave a comment by next Tuesday (June 2). Let me know what your favorite post on this here blog was, or really, anything at all on this blog that you like…if there’s nothing here that you like…then why are you here? 😉
  • Be sure to include contact info – if I don’t here back from you after notification by July 2, I’ll move on to someone else. ( international folks, I’d like you to help with postage if you win…ok?)
  • One entry per person – this means you Pam! 😉

And to ALL the folks that read my blog – thank you so much, I know I wouldn’t have kept this up if I was only talking to myself…and I know that blogging has helped me develop, artistically, and business-wise too! 3 cheers for the blog-o-sphere!

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Commencement 09

In case you’ve ever wondered what it looks like from the stage, here is a very vague picture of what graduation looks like from one of us faculty sitting on the stage looking out at the grads (you can see the dark of their black caps & gowns)  and their families:

Commencement combined copy

A wonderful ceremony on a beautiful campus. We lost a Physics Major senior over spring break to a tragic accident caused by a wrong way driver. The ceremony to grant his degree posthumously to his parents was  thoughtfully, tastefully done, and still makes me weep. David used to study at the table right outside my office door. Very sad. But I’m so grateful that I work at a University whose student body is small enough that we very rarely lose a student…but when we do, the community can support those in pain, and recognize in a meaningful way the loss to us all.

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A little fun

So, this is what I’ve been talking about on my blog (Generated by the fun folks at wordle):

May 09 wordle Looks like I spend a lot of time talking about when I can do things!

Lisa Call wrote a post the other day about “Getting Stuff Done”. And she is the best example I have of someone who gets stuff done! She’s a single mom, full time software engineer who makes a LOT of AMAZING art quilts. In this post, she talks about how timing herself helps her accomplish all sorts of tasks, be it creating art or updating a mailing list.

I can get mired down/distracted from just about anything I do, so I’m going to see if I can start timing myself more. The only time I’ve really done this is when I’m working on something I’d like to figure out how to price (like a new style of bag). Once I’ve got the pattern set, I do a little assembly line and make 5 at once, and write down every minute that I spend working on those bags. Because I’m actually recording WHEN I’m doing this, I’m less likely to get distracted by … this very machine I sit at right now … the laundry … you name it, I stay much more focussed.

I’m going to see if I can use this approach to say focused when I’m NOT trying to figure out how long it takes me to make something!

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So, I don’t usually blog about my day job – I’m a Senior Lecturer (just got promoted this week!) in the Biology department at the University of Redlands. Anyway, in May we teach one intensive course, which I’ve just finished! So as soon as Graduation is over, I’m free for SUMMER VACATION!!!! WooHoo!

The course I’ve just finished is called “Mother Earth Chemistry: The Science of Self Reliance”, which I describe in m syllabus thusly:

In the last 100-200 years, we have become systematically more detached from where our food/clothing/shelter comes from and how it is prepared. In this class, we will attempt to rectify this by studying the chemical/biochemical processes behind many simple processes that used to be performed at home, as part of the everyday work of feeding and clothing a family. These include activities such as the making of soap, beer, cheese, yogurt, tofu and dyeing.

This class touches 2 of the things I care deeply about – feeding our family with food made from the raw ingredients as much as possible, and creating beautify things with fabric. This years class was really detail oriented, so when it came time for tie dye day (after a lab that studied the effect of pH on how Procion MX dyes cotton), they wanted to get some pretty specific things, so we had a blast using all my different swatch books to created just the right colors. Here are some of the results, there’s a bunch more on my Flicker site. Yes, we had a great time…and yes they learned a lot too!Mother Earth 09 017Mother Earth 09 023Mother Earth 09 026Mother Earth 09 028Mother Earth 09 032Mother Earth 09 034Mother Earth 09 037Mother Earth 09 046Mother Earth 09 064Mother Earth 09 072


Have I mentioned…SUMMER VACATION!!!!!!!!!!!

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Updating the shop

So, I’ve done a shop update adding the notetakers and going green totes I made in the past month. This took – oh…most of a day. Seriously. I’m a bit bummed about this because I do NOT add the time I spend on stuff like this into my prices. I probably should…and I worry about if this will effect my sales. Sigh… I DID however, find a great site that (if you use Firefox) fixes a lot of Etsy’s annoying little quirks, most especially, giving you the power to copy a listing so you can base a new listing on one you’ve already set-up. Etsy Hack God bless this man!

This is one of the reasons I’m looking to build a website this summer. Which of course just blows my mind when I think about how much that will take.

So, mark me down as having a frustrating day, and enjoy the pretty picture:

Going Green

Which was created by a sweet freeware program called Photoscape. I’ve got a VERY old version of Adobe photoshop elements, and can’t bear the thought of upgrading – it seems to have so many different functions that I kind of get lost. This program does some neat things very simply, and added a little joy to this dismal day!

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Hello There!

I’m so close to the end of the school year, and all the Spring shows are finished – there’s a light at the end of the tunnel…and summer vacation is zooming up faster than I can realize!

I’ve been listing my goals of things I want to accomplish in my little world of art, ( participating in the Modish Biz Tips monthly goal meet-up) and this is really helpful! I’ve had such a tremendous let-down of energy this week, that I couldn’t even think about steeping into the studio to make something. So I’m now in a zone I’ve been in before…the zone of “Oh! Finally some free time! I don’t know what to do!!!!!” Usually this zone is a depressing one, because I want to fill the space with so many things that I can’t get started on anything, and I piddle those moments away! BUT, now, because I’ve been piling up those goals, I can now just take a look at them and start working away at them! Who knew that having a list of to-do’s is just as important when you have MORE time as when you have LESS time! Phew!

Item Date Due % Done
Dye & IRON 47 scarves 5/9/09 70%
Custom Bag info album 5/9/09 100%
Send out package for giveaway 5/9/09 100%
RAA Newsletter 5/11/09 100%
Medium tote for Nicholle’s sister 5/30/09 0%
Color Fields Quilts 5/31/09 15%
5 Clutches, 1 commission 5/25/09 5%
Mega-messenger for Linda 5/31/09 0%
Laptop bag for Liz 5/31/09 0%
3-d Birdhouses 5/31/09 0%
Application AFHS July 1 0%
Art book July 1 0%
3-d Row Houses June 0%
Scarves Website Created June 0%
Custom Bags Website Created June 15%
3 baby quilt presents! June 0%
Little Wallets June 0%
Cool Colors quArt June 0%
More Gridwall for EZ-up August 0%
Candied Fabrics Quilt October 0%
Banner for EZ-up October 0%


I’ve added some long term business side goals to the list, and some of the goals are a bit vague, but I’m hoping listing all the things I’d LIKE to accomplish (well, in my art business world…I have some decorating, house cleaning goals as well…) will help me recover from a creativity slump faster!

Here’s how time flies –

It seems like just yesterday that this 8 year old:

Logan is 8 Candle

Was this 1 year old:

1st bday cake 1 1st bday cake 2 1st bday cake 3 1st bday cake 4 1st bday cake 5

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to say HI! I Miss you blog-o-sphere! There are 340 unread posts in Google Reader as we speak!

We had a crazy busy weekend, what with 2 whole days in the park, a birthday party for Logan on Friday afternoon, then family bday celebration with him Sunday night. I’ve officially decreed next weekend as Mother’s Day! Poof! I will have breakfast in bed next Saturday!

Until then, I’m in the throes of teaching – the 3rd of 4 weeks. I had format/edit the Redlands Art Association newsletter this evening, and there’s concerts to attend this week as well! AAAHHH!

Show report:

This year was much better than last year. My sales are still mostly small stuff – scarves and Going Green bags. I did sell one piece of actual art:

6  little birds

Sigh, my favorite little birds piece. LOVE that red! Must make more…soon…

Here’s some pix of my booth setup – although I was happy with it at the time, looking at it now, as well as with some input from dear hubby, I see it didn’t do a god job of drawing people in. We’re going to get more gridwall before the next show (not til next Fall, thank goodness) and try to do away with the tables…

Art in the Park S 09 007

  Art in the Park S 09 013

Art in the Park S 09 014  Art in the Park S 09 008

The best part of this show is that I was surrounded by friends and acquaintances – and that makes all the difference! As I begin my 3rd year of doing business as an artist, I realize how much I’ve grown as a member of this community, as well as an artist! – Worth it’s weight in gold!

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