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Come on in and see what's happening in my studio.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

my little flock of birds

cut them out of chipboard cardboard and paint them

add papers, glaze and glitter

add ornaments and tie it onto raffia

This week I made a bird garland to decorate for the holidays.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

it's that time, and i'm getting ready

It hasn't really turned cold yet this year. For us "turned cold" means the car windshield gets frost on it overnight and you have to run the hose over it in the morning, which makes you late for taking the kids to school. They're still wearing short pants and a sweatshirt in the morning. So December is here, and we are sticking to our budget, just like a lot of families are doing. It doesn't seem like the Christmas season yet. I don't relate to all the print ads and TV programs that show snow and fireplaces, and people wearing warm clothing. We are not shopping or traveling or eating out. We're still wearing sandals.

my front door advent wreath
to celebrate the season I made an Advent wreath for the front door of the house. Instead of candles to light each Sunday, my daughter and I chose three distinct purple ornaments and one rose colored one. We picked out bendable ribbon with wire in it, silver pointsettias to add each week, and one white ornament to hang in the middle on Christmas day along with red ribbon to make a bow for the top. True to how I do most things, we went and picked all of this out at Wal-mart in twenty minutes because we had to be somewhere else after that. We kept it down to $28 because that was all I had to spend. We can make up the difference by eating some more mac and cheese. My neighbor refers to Wal-Mart as "the Beast." I hope young children in a sweatshop somewhere didn't make my ornaments, but lately my politics play second fiddle to my budget. So far so good. The "command" hook on the front door is still holding it all up. Fingers crossed.

I really do like nativity scenes and advent wreaths.

Friday, November 28, 2008

happy thanksgiving

______________________________thanksgiving dessert

Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful to God for all the blessings He has given me. This was one of the desserts I made for our feast. It is strawberry cheesecake pie, and it gets devoured fast every time I make it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

a wonderful way to spend the afternoon

Last Sunday I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Udinotti Museum of Figurative Art in Paradise Valley, Arizona to see this exhibit:

Gestures of Beauty and Elegant Pose
Japanese Prints of Actors and Beautiful Women
Prints dating from 1690 - 1830
From the Barry and Elizabeth Rosensteel Collection

The space and display of the prints was fabulous; the museum owner Agnese Udinotti was gracious and spoke eloquently; the freedom to completely wander all areas of the museum and studio space was generous; our friends the owners of the collection were humble; and the food was great.
Just seeing this space was inspiring. I had the feeling after I came home that I needed to throw out seventy-five percent of everything I own just to clear out the clutter, to cut down to the very essence of only what is important. I felt like I was absorbing a lesson that could be applied to my spiritual life, my relationships, the objects I choose to own, and my work and living spaces.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

thank you to nice customers!...and...my 365's are coming along

Thank you to my wonderful customers here in Phoenix, and online as well. It is a pleasure doing business with all of you, and I thank you all for the experience you have given me.

Well, it's day 19, and my 365's are starting to grow in size. You can check my progress on Flickr.com . I have organized my photos a little more at that site, so it is easier to find and look at specific items.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

my update on "the cost of doing business"

I have done some follow up at the shop that sells my items on consignment. I took in more inventory to hopefully sell over the holidays, and am pleased to say that the item at the highest value which I previously could not account for has actually been sold. Yeah! That's a relief. (Two other bracelets I had missed were in stock and I just hadn't seen them, and I was paid for one "mystery item" that doesn't jive with my records, so I am applying that payment to a necklace I can't account for).

So...that leaves one necklace and one stretch bracelet unaccounted for, and it is possible they sold within the past month...

I still think there must be a better way for me to keep track of my items, but this would put my "losses" at under $20, which is much less that what I previously blogged about. I still am very glad to do business with the owners of this cute shop, and I am thankful for the experience!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

cats and birds who love each other

I still love folk art.

tuxedo cats and canary bird earrings

ideas in the works

Happy customers
I have been "yard sale-ing" my old inventory of jewelry and other small items to generate a little cash flow, and that went pretty well, especially considering that I didn't advertise and money is tight these days.

Today I worked on a potential commission for someone who wants a specific image painted on some boots. I sent her a preliminary sketch, and if she approves then it's a go. She wants upward-pointing angel wings in a tribal tattoo theme. This is what I came up with so far. I envisioned that when she stands together the design will form a heart with a flame above it, for it is when we come together that we find love. The flame is so she will keep her passion burning. The swallow is for giving flight to her dreams, and the vines are for growth.
I hope she likes it....

my idea for painted tattoo wings on boots. this is 14:365

Saturday, November 8, 2008

hey, this is kind of fun


I'm on day 5 of my 365 journals, and it is fun to wake up and think about what I'm going to work on. I didn't actually create any art on days 3 and 4, but I did photo document how I spent my time anyhow to keep it honest. (chores on day 3, and playing card games with the kids on day 4). I may end up with 365 days of looking back to see all the days I didn't actually create art, but that's not my intent. At the least I hope I get better at taking photos, and using the computer.

________________________________________________5:365. This is a pendant bead for a sunflower themed necklace.

I remember as a teenager, Mom telling us kids that everyone has 24 hours each day to use, and everyone has chores like laundry to do, but somehow it's up to each to manage her time so that things get done appropriately. Now let's see if I can become more productive.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

yesterday i started a 365 journal

________________________ _____



1:365studio . do you see bondo?

I have been motivated and inspired by others' daily photo journals that go on for 365 days that I have seen on flickr.com . I want to do the same, to try to be creative in some way each day and document my efforts. I think for me it is realistic to think that my time and energy may be scattered, so I decided to create a 365 plan in 3 parts, in the hope that I can focus in at least one of the three areas at some point each day. I'm calling the parts "365art," "365studio," and "365me." My goals are to create more actual art, to improve my workspace, and to have fun with a self portrait now and then while I try to improve my skills as a photographer. I plan to take a photo daily, and upload images weekly to my Flickr account. I'll see how that goes, and make adjustments as I go along.

The election day of our new president, Barack Obama seemed like a good enough starting point. So....here goes....

Today is 2:365 .

2:365studio/me , learning "blog" basics by trial & error




Thursday, October 30, 2008

the down side of consignment sales

Okay, so I'm feeling a little discouraged today by my sales on consignment.

I just went in today to take in more inventory to sell, and for a look-see at how my items are displayed, etc. I haven't been keeping as close an eye on things over the past several months, because the monthly checks have been coming in, and in the past the owners of the shop have told me more than once, "you're the ONLY ONE of our sellers that comes in like this to check on your inventory." Yes, they do have a few other vendors who sell similar jewelry-type items to mine, although their main sales come from home and garden items - a real cute shop. I can't figure out how the other vendors can afford NOT to check their inventory. My sales had picked up after I took in a nice willow-branch tree for display, along with a nice-sized earring hanger that gave good visability; and I also took in nicer quality items that were what I would buy if I were shopping for myself - and I priced everything a little higher to reflect the upgrade in quality of materials and my time spent on workmanship. The owners seemed pleasantly surprised when things sold at the higher prices, even though their target market is not art & jewelry sales. But...they still told me no one else tracks what specific items get sold like what I have been doing.

All in all the relationship has been great. I just have to price items high enough to cover the consignment fee. My best sales have been when people can see and touch the actual item they're buying in person, compared to online sales with only a photo to go by.

So....today I finally went in to refresh everything before the Christmas rush....and other vendors were front and center on my willow tree display, with my items getting pushed to the back. No problem. I just rearranged things to suit myelf. Then the owner returned an earring that had gone missing last April. It happened to be one from one of my most favorite pairs. Unfortunately for me, I gave up hope and just TODAY altered the mate to re-work it into something else. So...I just messed up one of my faves!

So, I made note of what was there in inventory, came home and compared to my "inventory in /sold items list," and calculated that over the past 10 months I have not been paid for $73.50 (that's my portion only, not the total sale price) in inventory that hasn't been accounted for and I no longer see in stock. The owners say that they'll reimburse me for items that go missing, but in the past when I've wondered aloud if perhaps small items like jewelry get stolen, our conversation has never gotten past the point of them telling me they'll check for the item "in the back," and me letting it ride in case the items actually are in the store somewhere and I just haven't seen them at that hurried moment of my spot-check. They do have the jewelry right up on the counter by the register in plain sight where it would be hard to steal. They also gave me a break one time on my portion of a consignment fee on a painting that saved me $25 last year. I didn't want to drop my price on the paintng, and they felt that the normal consignment fee would make it too pricey to sell. (It did sell, so I felt vindicated, and now they're more open to taking more pieces of a similar nature).

Meanwhile, $73.50 means a lot to me. So, do I just write it off as a business expense, and raise my prices even more to cover just such things? Do I push the point and try to recover the cost with the shop owners at the risk of losing my "in" there where I generate my most steady monthly income, and the nice "hands-on" exposure with word-of-mouth compliments trickling back to me?

Maybe that's just the cost of doing business, but at the worst, I hate stealing; and at best I hate having to chalk all these dealings up to experience. I've been getting more and more "experience" lately. I hope this is just the "experience" of me needing to get out my bifocals and look again. I'll probably find everything somewhere in the store, then I can forget everything I just wrote.

I hope I'm growing in age, grace and wisdom a little each day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

they're finally finished...

do you think this soul is going to heaven or hell?
My Day of the Dead clogs are painted. What do you think?

the potato story

A friend sent this to my friend, and then she shared it with me:

Girl potato and boy potato got married and soon they had a little sweet potato and named her Yam. She grew up and they told her the facts of life. They warned her about going out and getting half-baked so she wouldn't get mashed and get a bad name like "Hot Potato" for herself and end up with a bunch of tater tots.

Yam told them not to worry as no spud would get into her sack and make a rotten potato out of her. She also told them she would not always stay home either and become a couch potato. She would exercize so not to become skinny like her shoestring potato cousins.

When Yam decided to go to Europe, Mr. and Mrs. Potato told her to watch out for hard-boiled guys from Ireland, or the greasy guys from France. They told her to watch out for Native Americans too so she wouldn't get scalloped. Yam told them she wouldn't associate with those high class Yukon Golds or the ones that have advertisements on their trucks that say Frito Lay.

When Yam returned, Mr. and Mrs. Potato sent Yam to Idaho P.U. (that's Potato University) so that when she graduated she would be in the chips.
When Yam returned from P.U., she told Mr. and Mrs. Potato that she was going to marry Tom Brokaw. Mr. and Mrs. Potato were upset and told her not to marry Tom Brokaw because he was just a common tater.

Now how's that for a potato story?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

columbus day costumes

i'll grant you three ships if you bring me back gold

Yesterday I made nineteen Spanish sailor hats out of black construction paper for my daughter's third grade Columbus Day play. I asked my sister if I could lend a most excellent queen costume she made a few years ago to the class for the part of Queen Isabella. She said fine, but when the costume box came out, the fur trim had been chewed off of her highness' royal cape by Peg's Jack Russell terrier.
"Oh, that's what Dottie chewed," she said. "I knew she got into something, but I didn't realize it was the exact costume we needed."
Let me tell you, Peg's costume box is the thing legends are made of; it is so wonderous and extensive. Peg is a sport, and so good at costume-making, that last night she went to Wal-Mart, purchased more fur, along with a glue gun and some big fake jewels and some styrofoam to make a scepter. This is all based on my casual off-hand comment to my daughter's classmate that I might have a very good queen costume she could borrow. No problem. Just a little errand at dinnertime with four kids in-tow. She makes it seem that that is exactly the way she was going to be spending her time anyhow, because it is "fun"...and "easy."...those being her words, not always mine.
Last year when my son told me he wanted to be an exploding volcano for Halloween, I gave it a try. "That's a great idea," said Peg when I mentioned it to her beforehand. "You know," she said, "Just make a mountain/cone-shaped kind of thingy from some paper and wire; wear it like a sandwich board sign; make a cone for a hat, make some flowing lava from some felt; glue it on; put some fiber-optic lights coming out the top. I like that idea so much I may do that one next year for one of my kids", she said. Okay. Away I went to give it my best shot. Now, remember, my name starts with "P" for "procrastinate," so it was October 30th by then. Well, about five hours later my son and I had made a mountain with an erupting top hat that was so heavy we had to attach it to his bike helmet for support underneath, and he couldn't wear it without leaning his head way to one side. Besides that, it wasn't looking so good overall, he couldn't move well or sit down in it, and I was getting "annoyitated," as my son says. It was a lesson for me to learn on how to cut my losses and move on and have fun anyway. I think the kids went trick-or-treating dressed as hobos with burnt-cork beards on their faces and some last-minute raggedy clothes. (This being a costume I remember from my own childhood, and now I understand a little better where mom and dad were coming from on that one).
... So this morning we attached the new fur to Queen Isabella's cape. Peg whipped out a crown made from a cardboard egg carton she spray painted silver, and I attached metalic lace trim and the jewels. We visited and had fun. At the same time we did a couple of loads of laundry, she took care of her 4 month old baby, and I got glue from the glue gun in places it didn't need to be while she razzed me on my technique and showed me how to whip that gun away real fast so I didn't trail little glue strings everywhere. Tonight I'll make twenty-one more sailor hats for the other third grade class in between dinner, helping with homework, and watching the presidential debate.
...."Hey honey, how was your day? What'd'ya do today?"....
I can't say enough times how cool my sister is, and how thankful I am for the time we spend together.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

more thank yous

Thank you also to "abovegroundgourds" at Etsy. Check out this seller's shop at Etsy.com. She has been a great customer, and helpful to me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

thank you

Thank you to "dualie" at Etsy for your purchase!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

just when i thought nothing was happening

___Yippee! I traveled to Notre Dame and got adopted!

Well, I had just about decided to put robot and monster making aside for a while because it was seeming like a chore instead of fun, when someone who saw my very first monster came up to me out of the blue and said she would like to order a monster toy from me, to to be a baptism gift for a boy who is being baptised at Notre Dame. ...so yippee! Hopefully I'll make one more that will be red with lime green polka dots, then my friend can pick one of three that are done. I love it when my creations get to travel!
It sure is nice to get a little feedback in person, and it keeps the creative energy going. Thank you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

my freaky robot disaster

I have been trying my hand at something new for me, which is trying to make some dolls, and I think I'm going to bag it, and go back to what I like better. In an attempt to get ready for some fall and Christmas time street/craft fairs, and in response to some positive feedback about my tiny felt microbots I made recently, my sister and I deciced to make some monster and robot toys. Her former employer was a preschool, and she thinks we could display some prototypes for sale there to get some feedback from kids and parents. She and my mom are successful dollmakers. I, on the other hand, have never been motivated to give dollmaking a try before now.

Thanks to a patient mom and a creative childhood, I do know how to sew pretty well, and I've done some pretty complicated projects in the past ( ...a wedding dress for a family friend when I was fairly young...and a bogus, silly family crest flag complete with two beavers and a great big heart made to fly over our old hippy bus camper...to name a few), but I have never made a real kid-friendly, washable, loveable toy. I rarely sew at all any more. It seems cheaper and faster to just hit the thrift store for what we need.

Well, I have two monsters and one robot done, and I've got to say, I'm just not feelin' the love for this project. The first monster was the best, the second one was a little overworked which is true to how I operate, and the third is a robot which turned out to be so freaky looking in a bad way that she would probably frighten any young kid who saw her. So now it's about ten days later, and I'm putting all that on the back burner for a time, while I decide what to work on next. I know this is my first attempt. Somehow I always expect perfection on the first try, and then reality is something else altogether.

I could fill a room with supplies for projects that go just about like this....

Thursday, September 4, 2008

the strongest storm ever

Wow, central Phoenix got hit by the strongest storm I've ever been in a few days after my last post. We had winds up to 100mph at times, combined with thousands of lightening strikes, rain and hail. Thankfully, our home and immediate neighborhood came through OK, with only minor damage to the roof being our issue. We lost some clay tiles and one of those whirly vent things, and my husband spent the next day getting loads of pine needles and debris off the roof. Others nearby lost power for about 48 hours, and so many big old trees snapped. I'm sorry for that, and for the damages some have suffered. I've lived here for more than 45 years and I've never been through one like that. It was actually scary to go through, and it was weird trying to tell the kids "It's OK, we are lucky to be inside a safe, strong house," while in my own head I felt like, "whoa, this is a bad one, and I'm not going to stand next to this big glass window in case it blows out." A mile away, my folk's neighbors pulled together, sharing a generator for power, pot-lucking it for a front yard BBQ to cook up all that defrosted food, the ones with gas stoves cooked for those with electric only, and they helped each other with repairs to damaged property. Police and city workers were great. It made me feel proud of my community, my family, and my city to see how everyone responded. We were safe. We had a warm, dry house with power. We had food and services. We are so-o-o-o lucky. More than ever, I'll do what I can to help victims of adverse circumstances elsewhere, even if the way I am able to help seems small.

Monday, August 25, 2008

twilight time

after dinner we went for a walk...

we looked at

...and saw these around the corner

...and then we came home.

It rained in Phoenix this afternoon and after dinner we went out for a walk. Twilight time is my favorite time of day.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

monsters, robots, and painted shoes

monsters and robots during the daytime

painted shoes at nightime

Today I doodled out some patterns for robots and monsters, trying out ideas to see what might work well for some small soft toys. The Day of the Dead painted clogs are what I really wanted to work on the most, but they got pushed to the back burner during the day. Getting out the wet paint on the middle of the dining table during mid-day doesn't always seem like the best idea. Those mealtimes somehow just keep coming around, and we need the dining table for eating, for doing homework, and for folding the laundry; as well as for a good-sized creative workspace. Sometimes I do my best work after everyone else is in bed, so I'll shoot for that tonight.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

less virtual, more actual

Thank you to all who have responded to my posts, helping me to get underway and navigate the internet.
I have more painted clogs partway done. So far they're looking good, with a Day of the Dead theme.
Stay tuned after this brief message.....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

i did it, so now you can see my photos

I've added even more photos to the slideshow, so that's enough for now.
Now we can get on to the fun part of visiting.


ok, the good night's sleep and a fresh outlook did the trick.
Now my slideshow of photos is on this blog.
I put a link near the top of the blog, if you want to see all my photos.

i am getting frustrated

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know. I've just spent a day opening another online account to catalog some photos, then tried to intall a slideshow on this blog, without success. I'm really burned out, to the point that I can't figure out how to navigate around within blogspot to read if anyone responded to my question in the help forum.

I need a good night's sleep. I keep telling myself it can't be that hard, or nobody would blog!

Monday, August 18, 2008

my very first post

Well, here goes... my very first blog entry. I hope this format will be a good way to meet people, to share ideas, to support each other.

I wonder what I will say, for thankfully my life is ordinary. I'l l try not to ramble.

Seven.Dog.Studio is the name my sister and I call ourselves in our joint efforts as artists. I currently live with two of the seven dogs. You can meet them, just look to the right. I hope to show you some of my creative endeavors, to get your feedback, and to meet many of you.

My recent time and energy has been spent getting my creations photographed, described, and out onto the internet so that more people can see my work.
You can see more about my shop at etsy.com at http://www.7dogstudio.etsy.com .
You can view more of my photos at http://flickr.com/photos/sevendogstudio/ .

Please bear with my mistakes and questions, for I am not computer savvy, and I have much to learn.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you later....

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