Wednesday, November 25, 2009

cre8tiVIty N nuMbErS & tHe CaN DO spIRiT

So excited when I get the opportunity to get out and interact with other creative souls during our workshops. We had the most beautiful backdrop to our 'Natural Gifts' and 'Mosaic Toadstools' demonstrations this past Saturday in New York at the Mohonk Mountain House. The weather was incredible, the view out our conference room window was naturally refreshing and the participants were lively and fun! Can't ask for more than that. The best part is always watching how everyone goes about things and I inevitably walk away learning something new, myself. I was even inspired by the different structures and fencing that surrounded us that were brilliantly created simply by utilizing the fallen trees from their forests.

A big thanks to our friends at Dremel, Eclectic Products, and Liquitex for sharing some of their amazing products with our guests. It never ceases to amaze me, the number of people who have never touched a tool before or who are unfamiliar with things like jewelry pliers, woodburners, or artist acrylics. They are always so eager to try and the looks on their faces when they successfully have a go at something new is priceless.

I get challenged all the time to only share projects and ideas that are simple, do not involve any tools and to cater to 'the majority can't or won't do it' mentality. Now while I respect the guidance, with my own ventures I generally choose to not go that direction and instead follow my own instincts and beliefs. How else are we to elevate people to that can-do, resourceful, confident place without exposing them to the options that are out there and the different ways they can be utilized. I have way more faith in people's natural abilities than that and I am also confident that the more we all know how to do or at least 'believe' we can do, the better. Doesn't everyone want that empowerment, that sense of self-reliance to some degree? It's not even so much about the actual use of the tool per say, as it is about each and every one of us embracing the 'can-do spirit'. It's a beautiful thing.
It always brings me back to some of the words by Emerson in one of his pieces titled 'Self-Reliance'.
"There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried."
"A man is relieved and merry when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope."
"Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string."

Cheers to self-reliance and a can-do spirit! For those, I am thankful.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Create a PICTURE PERFECT table setting this Thanksgiving! Pull out photos of family and friends and make them part of each place setting. Customize one for each guest so when dinner is over, they can take them home to hang.

  • Start with an 11x14 picture frame or larger.
  • Paint the frame to go with your table scape.
  • Use a multi-picture matte and fill with family photos and a thoughtful, thankful quote, and reinstall the back and glass front.
  • Add felt pads to the bottom and you are ready to set the table.
The glass cleans up easily, so if there are any spills all photos are well protected.
You can also swap out the glass with a plexi-glas type of product, as an alternative.
(You can check out one of our video quickies for this project here -- click on the quickies box and scroll thru for thankful placemats)

I give a shout of thanks to the CREATIVITY that each and every one of us is blessed with. It truly makes the world a more interesting, colorful place to live!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It'S a WonDERfuL wORk SuRFaCE!

It's no secret that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the random beauty that happens on a work surface. The patterns, textures and color combinations are unexpected and unplanned.  They're the kind of designs that are very difficult to recreate.  I know not everyone appreciates this source of 'beauty', but I get so much inspiration and actual reusable material that can go into other projects that I always give special thought to my work surfaces so that I'm PREPARED to capture what randomly happens.  It's like having another project 'in motion' with a life all its' own, as my attentions are focused elsewhere.  

One of the materials I like to use is a roll of masking paper.   It comes in different widths...I like the 12 inch.  It's inexpensive and readily available at any home improvement store.  It's easy to store and easy to manage.   Just roll it out on your surface, tape to the underside and get to work. The brown paper is designed to protect your surfaces from water based products. The green paper goes a step further and will also protect from solvent based mediums. 

It also serves as a can draw out designs, capture thoughts as they occur, work through measurements and patterns.  I like to have a roll of measuring masking tape nearby, just tape it to your masking paper and you have a VERY helpful measuring aid. 
When the creative party's over, I can then tear down the pieces I want to keep and use in other art applications like collage.  I save some of the drawings and insert into my actual sketchbooks.  I can use the randomly designed paper as wrapping paper -- it makes for very interesting, (authentically artsy) gift packages.  I can throw it in the compost bin -- (being conscientious of the 'breakdown' of certain topical materials.)  

May sound crazy, but it really excites my creative mind to see the scribbles, the spills, the marks that take place.....I get something new every time and I love the whole 'double duty' thing! 
Explore your creative makes for a wonderful truly does! 

Monday, November 16, 2009

onE ON OnE w. moHoNk MoUNTain HouSE

I'm so excited about our workshops this Saturday at the Mohonk Mountain House. It's a destination that I LOVE because it embraces nature in all its' greatness.  The location, the programs, the rustic, relaxing vibe. Everything from the real wood burning fireplaces in the rooms, the absence of televisions in the rooms, (I know I shouldn't be advocating that since that is what I do in some respects, but it's all about 'balance' and 'moderation', right? shhhh, don't tell anyone):), afternoon teas, and the most spectacular views. 

We're joining them for their 'How-To Holidays' and sharing a couple of fun workshops with their guests.

  • Natural gift ideas that share how to create a plethora of beautiful things using only branches...everything from natural playthings to hair accessories, ornaments and jewelry. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE nature projects, and hopefully those who attend will share in the energy.

  • A colorful way to recycle by creating our one of a kind toadstools for the garden. It's a relaxing exercise in mosaic work and an enlightening, creative approach to repurposing things like wine bottles, clay saucers and broken dishes. 

All attendees will walk away with a newfound, playful appreciation for things they find on their nature walks, as well as items that get tossed in the bin.
See ya there!

Cheers to the upcoming opportunity to share ideas one-on-one!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

hoLLoW CoRe cANvaSeS

Our friends from Meredith swung by our studio last week to snap some playful pics for their next issue of the Do It Yourself magazine and we shared our creative love for hollow core doors. I think they are an amazing surface to work on and they enable you to take your original artwork to a new level. You can score doors from home renovations; the Habitat for Humanity's ReStores are also amazing outlets...You can purchase an old bi-fold door for as little as $5...that is a LOT of canvas for very LITTLE money. You can also purchase them new at any home improvement store, and even new they're very inexpensive.
They can be used in their entirety for a 'grand' impression, or you can easily cut them down into smaller canvases. The wood surface opens up a myriad of creative possibilities and mixed media techniques. We'll be sharing the how-to lowdown in a quick video and you'll be able to sneak a peek at their spread when the issue comes out in January. If you haven't had a chance to check out their magazine, look for it on stands...the winter issue is currently available and it's full of fun ideas. It's also put together by an amazing team of creative minds who love what they much so that they're even providing you with fresh DIY ideas on a daily basis with their Team DIY blog. Give 'em a visit and put some of the ideas to use in your own creative way.

Cheers to sharing ideas in colorful ways!

Friday, November 6, 2009

LooKiN' SHarP!

Another rustic beauty to add to the jewelry box! I posted the how-to lowdown on our blog. Sneak a peek and then get going on one...two, three, four, or five...of your own, my friends!
Cheers to a naturally creative weekend, all!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

nEW BraNcH peNDaNt

I just posted another nature inspired pendant on our blog. Check out the simple process and create one for yourself. They're quick, easy and one of a kind.
Cheers to wishes everywhere!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A NaTURalLY BEaUtiFul ACcEsSoRY I have a ton of new stuff to share, and some of the nature-inspired stuff I'm posting on our b. blog....Today's posting 'Branch Out' is one of my new favorites, and if you're any sort of nature buff, you'll appreciate it, too......It's a piece of jewelry titled 'Perched', and it's quite simply....a natural beauty that's quick and easy to create. Grab it and go, my friends!

Cheers to having the courage to create with branches!


Monday, November 2, 2009

drAw 'Em iN w. GLuE

Raise the bar with your designs and make things really pop by using GLUE. Glue is a simple way to add texture and design to furniture, artwork and whatever else your little heart desires. It's easy to control, and you really do have quite a few options.

HOT GLUE: There are different glues and different guns. Each offering up different flows, different thicknesses and different 'shades of glue'... (I like the ring of that ....different shades of glue)..
WOOD GLUE: For a deeper, golden look, wood glue is a fun one to use. It has a thinner consistency than the hot glue, so it won't be quite as raised up off the surface, but you can really create some interesting looks.
WHITE GLUE: This too has a thinner consistency, and will offer up a more translucent texture.
CAULK: For beefier textures, caulks are the ticket.
There are a lot of eco-friendly versions available in most types of adhesives and they too work beautifully. So the choices are many, and ultimately YOURS!

You can use your glues to draw, to create lettering and outlines, or to just add that little sumthin', sumthin' to your work. Use the containers and tips they come with or add them to other applicators. Leave them natural, or paint over them. I love the looks you can create, and I'm confident you'll have fun with it, too!

Cheers to drawing w. glue!