Monthly Archives: February 2012

Sunday Morning Coffee #13

This illustration is by Trina Clark, a wonderful illustrator whose works you can not only appreciate, but purchase for use in your own projects. More about that shortly.

News from Under the Bed . . .

Many of you noticed there was no Sheer Heaven Sale in December – or any other kind of promotion either.

Many of you have noticed me doing some mumbling about what I want to be when I grow up.

Many of you did not notice (and I was hoping you wouldn’t) that I have been absolutely freaking out for the past two and a half months. Sometimes, something happens that delivers a gigantic jolt to the status quo, and your head doesn’t stop shaking for awhile.

But you hang on and see it through. You drink a lot of chardonnay and wax poetic about it all. You process a lot of what-ifs. You think you are going through “Sheer Hell” for awhile, but then you have to put things into perspective. It’s not life or death, after all.

I have been sharing Sheer Heaven with the art and photography world for more than 11 years now. For almost 6 of those years, I’ve been waiting for a shoe to drop. The machinery used to make Sheer Heaven is old. It has been in need of a retooling for a long time, and we have been putting it off.

It got mad at us for ignoring its pain, and it broke.

Then we find out that one of the parts we need to fix it is not made anymore. Can we find an old one hidden away somewhere? Can we find somebody to make the part for us? And how long can that take?

While these questions remained unanswered, I did a lot of thinking. I looked for every kind of solution. I even ran tests on every other synthetic sheet in the world to see if just maybe, anything was enough like Sheer Heaven that it could see us through this crisis.

The answer to that  was a resounding NO. In fact, the silver lining to this whole thing was that I found out how truly miraculous Sheer Heaven is. Nothing has its unique set of qualities, or can do what it does. Nothing even comes close, in fact – and now I know that.

So, when I was presented with the cost of the “fix” for our problem, and fell on the floor from shock, I had to weigh whether it was reasonable for me to lay out that kind of cash to save this product. That was a very difficult decision . . . but I decided that Sheer Heaven is worth it.

Even with the problems solved, we are about six weeks out from having another mill roll, so I have had to make a couple of changes – my first price increase in eleven years, and the suspension of the 100 Pack until we can get our supply replenished.

If you have visited my website lately, you have seen some of this change. You might even have checked in during the time that Sheer Heaven was actually “rationed”! Only 10 Packs for sale, and only one to a customer for a little while there, when I thought it might be the end of the line.

Anyway, all’s well for the time being, and hopefully, we won’t have to do this kind of thing again for a long while.

I have crawled back out from under the bed, and now, let’s hear some good news . . .

Good News . . .

It has long been a belief in the news business that good news doesn’t sell. People want the dramatic and shocking stuff which mostly comes with bad news.

The great thing about the web is that you can go ahead and try things for yourself. You don’t have to wait for the big guys to get around to it. And several innovative websites have proven that good news is indeed a good thing.

The Huffington Post actually has a “Good News” section – which you can find under “More” on their menu bar.

And they just ran a great list of 15 Uplifting Sites that I think you will enjoy exploring:

15 Uplifting Sites

How Well Do You Know Yourself?

OK, the world is full of more self help stuff than we can possibly help ourselves to, but some of it is really worth consideration.

I was first attracted by the way these questions were presented with beautiful photos, and then by how much I had to think to get the answers, and then by what I learned about myself while thinking.

Like this, for example . . .

Wow . . . hmmmm . . . mmmmm . . .  can I get back to you on that one?

Here are 39 more of these on a favorite blog of mine . . .

Marc and Angel Hack Life

Artist of the Week . . .

When I go in search of our Artist of the Week, it is difficult to choose among the truly amazing artists I run into.

So, I usually go for the artist doing work that is right on the edge of unbelievable, and that is certainly true of Simon Beck – who walks these patterns in snow.

HIs story is well told in this blog post on . . .

My Modern Met

Country Clip Art – Amazing Sale . . .

I have used Trina Clark’s artwork in the past when I found it on a clipart subscription site. But then, while I was chasing some other thing around the web, I ran into her own site – full of fabulous illustration.

There are bigger fans of the Country Style than I am (just sayin’), but I found plenty of garden art to love – and use in my store signage, little notecards sets, etc.

Because, you see, Trina Clark (that’s her coffee cup and doughnut up top) has probably the most liberal usage rights I have ever seen.

AND she sells full color or coloring book versions.

AND the art comes in both JPG and PNG formats. The PNG has a transparent background which means you can easily combine images.

AND Trina is having an unbelievable 95¢ Sale through February 29. Not single images, but whole sets for 95¢.

I went overboard. You will too . . .


Sunday Morning Coffee #12

Oh, what a tangled web we weave . . .

I try to use a lovely coffee image every Sunday – mostly I use my own sketches and photographs.

Sometimes, I find myself without one of my own images conveniently at hand, and I must go search for something from another source. It never ceases to amaze me that, one, I always find something wonderful, and two, the search leads me to other wonderful things I was not looking for. That is the wonder of the web.

I searched “Coffee” under Google images. I saw this lovely shot (above) and went to the website where this image resides.

It was not easy to find this reference because the current post on that blog was so cool that I got carried away reading it.

It was about Bridges of  Love . . .

I have never heard of this before, and I am not even sure it is going on in the US yet – mostly in Europe – but it is based on an old Chinese tradition. A newly married (or hopelessly-in-love) couple scratches their names on a padlock, locks it to some part of a bridge (some more well known than others), and throws away the key – into the water. This should keep them together forever – or so the theory goes.

What a romantic concept!

And the blog this post is on is called Weirdomatic, so I had to love it. It has been put together by a young Romanian architect named Irina Alexandra . . .


But where are those coffee images? I searched the Weirdomatic blog for “Coffee”, and found that post too, and it linked to the person responsible for this visual feast – Tony Konecny – on his Flickr page:

Latte Art

Where you will find a visual feast of art created by pouring milk into coffee . . .

Look for the pictures of animals.

Artist of the Week

Anyway, when I find a blog I like, I usually look at the blogroll – if there is such a list. If I like the blog, I may like what the blogger likes, right? On Weirdomatic’s blogroll, I found a link to a photography artist that I have admired for a year now, and have not yet shared with you. So, right off the bat, we did have a common interest! The artist is Martin Waugh and the website is

Liquid Sculpture

These images are done with high speed flash photography. They are not Photoshopped except for basic editing (no image manipulation). You can read about how it is done, he sells prints, and his About/Process page also has a link to a how-to-site for the rest of us. Once again, I am shocked by the hidden beauty that is everywhere around us! Who knew how spectacular a splash could be?!

Also on the Weirdomatic Blogroll is another blog dedicated to the weird and wonderful called . . .

Dark Roasted Blend

This is a really wonderful blog – chock full of every interesting thing you can imagine. WARNING: you can spend hours here.

Unfortunately, a really ugly and obnoxious ad block resides at the top of every post, but just scroll down a bit. Perhaps the ads support this blog well. I hope so.

Here are a couple of my favorite signs from the Weird Signs collection (under “features” in the left sidebar of the blog)

My point being . . .

The web can offer the best adventure. I have always enjoyed exploring a new place – to see what creative things i can see, and refuel the creative gas tanks. All my life, I have done that by traveling all over the country by car and concentrating on the backroads.

It is not the same experience to meander around the web from one spot to another, following interesting “road signs” to the next unusual thing, but it is darned close, and certainly cheaper.

And here, to wrap up today’s adventure and sort of tie it all together if you will, is some motion photography from photographer Jack Long

Sunday Morning Coffee #11

Yes, I did – I indulged myself.

Spent a week in Tucson and Tubac, Arizona, and did not add anything else to the experience. I just wanted to BE there, and BE creative.

My usual MO is to drag work along and pack some stress into my trip.

This time, I decided to immerse myself in nothing but creativity – and walking! The Gem and Mineral Show is good for walking.

I picked my brother up at the Tucson airport at noon on Saturday, the 4th, and we started walking – huge distances from parking lots to exhibitions, and then miles along exhibit walkways. We walked all the rest of Saturday, most of Sunday, and all of Monday.

I dropped my brother off at the Tucson airport at noon on Tuesday, and went back to more walking for the rest of that afternoon. Drove to Tubac to spend a bit of time with Vesta, and walked all of Wednesday too. The Festival of Arts was going on, parking was scarce, so we walked into town from her house, I walked around the town and art show ALL day, we had dinner, and walked back to her house. I can’t begin to imagine how many miles – this trip had to be a walking “milestone”.

But I also can’t imagine anything healthier than walking and looking at beautiful things – with which you can make other beautiful things.

Another milestone of this trip was that I only brought ONE art supply – for all my note-taking, jewelry design sketching, art journaling, etc.

You guessed it – my iPad!

iPad Studio Workshop News  . . .

Wednesday is the big start day. Sign-ups have been amazing, and I get more excited about the potential of this workshop everyday. (Sign-up link is in the Sidebar.)

Opening the Workshop up to iPhone Users. . .

It occurred to me (duh!) that you can take this workshop using an iPhone. I just did not think about that before. There are a few apps we may use that do not have iPhone versions, but for the most part, you can decide by then if it is worth it to get an iPad, and meanwhile, you can do most everything on your iPhone the same way – you just have to work smaller.

The iPad 3 (or 2S?) Is Coming . . .

Rumors around Apple’s new product releases run rampant on the internet. Most of the time, they can be safely ignored, but you can tell when the tempo changes. There are a lot of signs when Apple is gearing up for a release, and it is looking like a new iPad may be announced around the first week of March.

I mention this because those who are waiting to buy an iPad may want to wait for the new one – or for the prices to go down on the older ones, used and new (which sometimes happens when there is a new release).

Artist of the Week . . . Peter S. Smith

Amazing artwork done on an iPhone (yes, I said iPhone, not iPad).

Image Copyright Peter S. Smith. All Rights Reserved.


My favorite photos from Tubac . . .

I love the architecture, and the whole feel of the place – which is all present in this shot . . .

And this just could not be a good photo because of the busy background, but I include it because the idea of making big bells out of inverted flower pots is such a creative one . . .

And this one is my favorite from the trip – judging purely by good photo standards. I especially like the little American flag in the window . . .

Must See . . .

Talk about “paper-art”! Chloé Fleury’s illustration and animation are just too cool to believe . . .

That’s all for today - I must go look at all the jewelry parts I got in Tucson!!