Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Plan . . .

You give great advice and I probably should take it.

But, allow me to explain why it is I want to challenge myself to a daily blog post in December.

Because I don’t want to lose December, that’s why.

One of the pitfalls of a crazy pace (that I seem to just make crazier all the time), is that I am not really sure what happened at any particular moment or other.

Am I actually having fun running around like a chicken? Yes.

Do I remember any of the fun? No.

So, one thing I am doing is learning the practice of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which is something my sister is teaching out in California – to people in big companies with lots of stress. It should work for me here in a tiny company with lots of stress.

I will certainly talk more about this wonderful program in the future, but the basic premise is that it is best to pay attention to what you are feeling and thinking. It’s good for you.

I thought that if I checked into what is going on in my life every day in December, I would enjoy this season much more.

Why do it publicly? Because then, there is more incentive for me to do it.

And to tell the truth, my life is pretty darned interesting, and you might enjoy sharing some of what goes on around here.

So, the month of December will be “A Month in the Life . . .” here on my whatever blog. I have no idea what will be in that month, of course, but I doubt I will bore you. I surely don’t bore me.

“A Month in the Life” will help me take stock of where things are at the end of a very peculiar year, and perhaps become more clear on where I want things to be in 2013.

As we wrap up November, here are some of the things that are happening, and that you will probably be hearing about in December . . .

I am creating and purchasing as many wonderful things for the gallery as possible for the gift shopping season. As a consequence of bringing in lots of new things, Mark and I are moving everything around. And I realize I have never shown you photos of this location (our best ever), so I will be doing that – and sharing some of the creative process too. I have really been getting into creative displays and I will share that as well.

At LONG last, I have found a hosting solution for my video workshops and can bring them back from the hiatus they have been on since MobileMe went down in June. Like I said, this has been a peculiar year with Sheer Heaven almost disappearing in January and all my video workshops killed off in June, but the pieces are finally coming back together and I will be republishing those workshops.

December marks the final Workbook in the iPad Studio Workshop, which has been such a success that I am going to keep offering it. I will be taking the 2012 out of the title and continuing to offer that workshop through the coming year at least. There will also be several new Workbooks on iPad art offered separately, and an iPad Blog!

I am having fun making holiday cards for the gallery, using some wonderful clip art that comes from picture fonts (You can learn all about that in Volume One of Creativity Knocking), and yes, iPad students, I did create this art on my iPad.

Here are the first two cards I have created . . . the inside message is shown to the right.

And here’s good old Rudolph . . .

I need six different cards to fit my rack and make up the six-packs, so I am still scribbling away on that iPad. What a blessing to be able to sketch and paint and the file is already digital and ready to print.

Just an aside – I don’t know how many of you have worked much with making art and scanning it into the computer. If you have, you know all the problems with color shift and the texture of the paper surface showing up and having to be removed, and all the sloppy edges of ink and paint to be cleaned up pixel by pixel.

If you’ve been there and done that, you can imagine how wonderful it is to draw and paint on a glass “sketchpad” with a totally natural feel, and getting to skip all that trouble on the way to printing your results. Long live the iPad!!!!!

See you tomorrow . . .

My Newest Project . . .

This, of course, is not a new idea, nor is it my idea, but it’s a great idea, and  I’ve been meaning to play around with it for a long time.

These are pendants made of Scrabble tiles, photographs, and resin.

I make the aluminum bales myself  because I like the look better than the ready made ones, and I can center the bale over the tile totally so it doesn’t want to hang weird.

I made a display for the gallery (which I will photograph for you), by standing the game board up behind the pendants, which I set on Scrabble letter trays. Chains are hung from S-hooks over the top of the board. They have been selling very well.

I have been having as much fun creating displays lately as I have been creating product.

Here are a few of my favorite pendants . . .

Obvously, I’m using my own art and photography for these.

One thing leads to another, and I get so many requests to reopen a gallery website (which I just cannot afford the time to do), that I decided to add a Gift Gallery to

And the first thing in it is . . . good guess . . . the Scrabble Tile Pendants. I have 29 of the design styles there so far, and there are more to come. They were already in the gallery and I didn’t get a chance to photo them yet. Yes, of course, some of the Hibiscus are in that bunch.

These are great $12 gifts for the holidays, so have a look see…

Jessica’s Scrabble Tile Pendants

I took all the photos with my iPad 3 because using the good camera would have meant all kinds of lighting tricks. The iPad camera is quite miraculous for this kind of photography.

Have you ever tried this Scrabble tile thing before?

Can I Do It?

I am gearing myself up for a blogging challenge – to blog every day in December. I know there is a big movement online that has everybody blogging every day in November, but I never quite get with it in time.

I am sure some of my posts will end up a little lame, but I have to get into the habit of this somehow. If I can do it in December, then I should be able to do it anytime!

I’ll be practicing until then . . .


Candles in the Wind . . .

My life is so darned interesting lately – I’m going forward and backward at the same time.

Some might call that “getting nowhere”, but I beg to differ. You should try it – it’s entertaining.

In the process of distilling my art life, I am purging and sorting, and exploring backwards to find what I want to bring forward.

It is interesting how much I once found interesting, that does not interest me now.

And how much does. And that is what I will share with you in one way or another. The stuff that does.

So, with this holiday coming up during which so many will share table space, I am bringing this idea back around. It’s a bit gothic, but extremely beautiful, and quite the conversation piece.

You start with a candelabra of some kind, and some taper candles that are NOT dripless.

Then you burn them in a gentle breeze for awhile.

Gentle breezes may be hard to come by at this time of year, so a fan will do. You don’t want to blow out the flames, so take it easy on the fan speed.

After a couple of hours, you will have some fine wax sculpture.

OBVIOUSLY, do not leave this work of art unattended.

I first made these for our garden themed gallery in Santa Fe in the 90′s, and I have to admit it was an accidental discovery. We had two open doors in that gallery, which created a lovely breeze most days. I was burning candles and this is what happened.

One of those unexpected gifts of Nature, so I will pay it forward.

Interestingly, that was the same gallery breeze that invented Sheer Heaven – because it blew the handmade paper luminaria shades around, and I thought they needed more substance. You never know where your thoughts will take you – forward or backward!

I Love Alcohol!!

That title ought to get the teetotalers excited!

I do love my Chardonnay, yes I do, but that is not what I am excited about at the moment.

About six or seven years ago, alcohol changed my life when Anne Lloyd sprayed some on an inkjet print that she had made using Sheer Heaven (thank you FOREVER for that one, Anne!)

Ever since, there is ALWAYS an old hair spray bottle full of alcohol not far from my hands. In fact, this one posed for me . . . while I sketched her on my iPad.

Now, the other part of this story is that I don’t kill things if I can possibly help it. As a gardener, that can be a problem – as witnessed by my ongoing gopher wars.

I actually flushed one out of a tunnel the other day and chased him all around the yard with the hose. I figured he would want to stay away now – ha! Anyway, I digress, but it was a humorous scene indeed.

You know I adopted several (16) Hibiscus plants, but you might not know that they, in turn, adopted some mealy bugs.

Mealy bugs look like the end of tiny cotton swabs, and one non-pesticide way to get rid of them is to remove them with a normal size cotton swab dipped in alcohol. One by One!

Being a person who is short of time for these things, I picked up my nearby alcohol bottle and sprayed them instead. Just the bugs, not the whole plant.

Then, I got all scared that the alcohol would hurt the plant as much as the mealy bugs (yes, alas, I did kill those bugs). So I searched online and found that some people use a mixture of 50/50 water and alcohol to spray the whole plant! So, I tried it with this spray bottle, which I also sketched for my garden journal on my iPad . . .

Here is the journal page . . .

I didn’t tell you about this trick right away, because I wanted to be sure this did not hurt the plants. I have been using it as my only pesticide for over a month and it seems to work. I don’t see any harmful affects on any of my plants. Of course, you only spray them when they are in shade.

Try this. It might be the only pesticide you need. And your plants will be germ free too!

While you’re at it, try sketching your spray bottles. It was fun and they do hold still for you!

Creativity Knocking Preview . . .

I finally got the time to make a Preview page for Volume One that gives you a lot more information about what’s in the workbook.

Here’s the link:

Huge thanks to those of you who gave me the great vote of confidence by buying it sight unseen! You are wonderful, and I am already working on Volume 2.

Creativity Knocking – Volume One!

Well, October was not blogging month around here!


So much has happened since last we spoke, that it would take a whole lifetime just to list it, let alone talk about it.

You know how I don’t care for the reciting of TO-DO lists, especially the ones with capitol letters, so I won’t  be doing that here. I’ll be sharing some of the more interesting stuff as it becomes relevant, because I will be blogging a LOT more, but I won’t make you sit and listen today.

But one thing does stand out from this past month . . .

I figured out what I want to be when I grow up!

I want to be an artist.

Duh! You say.

But, truthfully, I don’t get to *BE* an artist that much. I am much too busy BEing a crazy person instead.

As you know, I have a gallery. Therefore, I have a destination for anything I create. Truth is that Mark and I will not do this again, so this is it, and I must take advantage of the opportunity and make art! If not now, then when?

So, everything I do must dovetail into that.

Lucky for us all, I love to keep an art journal, and so it makes sense that I journal the details of my ideas, endeavors, and adventures in my art making. Right?

And I have been doing that.

And I put the first completed journal into a PDF Workbook.

And I just published it – for your creating pleasure.

One of the things that went on during October is that I ran out of gas – me, not my car. Since our Borders is closed, I drove all the way to Albuquerque to go to Barnes and Noble, have some coffee and look for inspiring art books and magazines to buy.

If you would have told me 10 years ago, that almost all VARIETY would pretty much disappear from art books and magazines, I would never have believed you. I could see where that could happen in some fields of publishing, but surely not CREATIVE publishing!

I came home empty handed. But I have hopes for my own personal inspiration via blogs, Pinterest, etc.

For you – I can give you something exciting and inspiring in a workbook!

It’s really more of a “Playbook”, but that sounds like football. And it’s not about football.

It’s not a magazine. By their nature, they must move briefly through subject matter and be full of advertising.

It’s not a book because it’s not about a single subject.

So, I decided to call it a workbook’guidebook.

Creativity Knocking is just what it says. It’s a VARIETY of creative ideas, idea starters, and idea finishers. It should give you lots to think and do, and hopefully, start you down some paths that I haven’t even thought of yet.

I love it and I am not going to put a schedule on it so I can continue loving it. It is a part of the “art” I am making, and part of the “art” I have made. It is fun. It is inspiring.

And I hope you love it because I want to do many more volumes.

Without further ado, here it is . . .

Creativity Knocking, Volume One