Saturday, October 25, 2008

29th Annual Holiday Craft Boutique

Again this year I'm showing pieces at the 29th Annual Holiday Craft Boutique, a home show out in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin that my good friend Stephanie Funck alerted me about several years ago. It's a good way to get the jump on fun holiday shopping without the crowds.

Jan Dorner opens her home for three successive weekends to a group of artists who provide a broad range of art and craft items for the holidays and gift-giving throughout the year.

Snowmen. Reindeer. Dried and pressed flowers. Dolls. Wreaths. Soaps. Glass work. Hand painted wood. Ornaments. Purses. Handwoven Baskets. Baked sweets and treats. Quilted pieces. Garden stones. AND much, much more.

The show is open from 10 am to 5 pm
• Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 28
• Friday, October 24 and Saturday, October 25
• Friday, October 31
and from 10 am to 3 pm
• Saturday, November 1

Map your way to 829 Davis Street in Sun Prairie.

Some of the proceeds from the show go to The Empty Stocking Club.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New Website FINALLY Launched!

I've been promising it for months, and here it is! I'm proud to introduce the new, which contains online shops for photography and sticky note packs. No need to visit another venue to shop!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Too few posts?

I have to admit that I've been too busy with other things to post as regularly as I'd like. I keep trying to "step away from the computer" more and more, especially now that I'm back working full-time as a contractor. I continue working on my pastel craft, and the grape hyacinths and brick wall shown here are the subjects of my next drawing. I hope to show some decent progress on it later this week.
I've been woefully neglectful of officially finishing my new ElectriKolor website, and have let all Etsy store items expire without replacement. I feel like I'm going to be heading toward dealing mostly in pastels from this point forward, so I'm pondering the possibilities.

Friday, April 4, 2008

In search of...

...a good photo opp...sometimes results in something totally different...Last Saturday morning, my intent was to shoot a GOOD photo of the "mystery bird" that, in the bright morning sun and from a distance, looked pretty much like an inverted bald eagle--a dark head and a stark white body. It's sad to say that I was disappointed in the fact that it was simply a large, healthy red-tailed hawk. He or she did not appreciate my stalking methods, and I was able to shoot only three frames of it before it continued its hunt elsewhere.

Undaunted, I went out on a local photo safari, catching some local residents in action--horses and cows mostly, although there were a few frisky geese working on repopulating the species...I did run across a pregnant cow with what were probably her yearlings, and they were curious about the gal across the street in the car with the funny-looking mechanical device...after a bunch of reference photos, this time intended as reference materials for some pastel work, I headed back to the homestead, and after a day of thought, began this pastel on PastelBord, which I put the finishing touches to on Thursday.

Today was a day off work, so I finally shot a photo of the finished cow to share with my blog audience. Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm pretending that it's really spring...

Yes, another snowstorm passed through here the 2nd day of spring. Much of the piles of previous precipitation had already melted, and the temperatures are creeping up above freezing during the days, so this won't last long. We did, however, break the 100 inch milestone for winter snowfall records, and it wouldn't be unprecedented to have a few more measureable inches of snow before all is said and done.

The owls have returned--I haven't seen them in the trees, but have heard them and seen them flying around and about--I believe celebrating the rites of spring...Even I, winter-lover that I am, have become a bit weary of this winter. Of course, that doesn't mean that I look forward at all to tornado season...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Warm-up Exercises

I start a pastel class again tomorrow, and decided that I should make sure that I'm not too rusty to draw...since having been in writing mode now for months in the contracting world. Yup, it looks like I still have a few neurons firing in the tips of the old arthritic this 11x14 inch piece with a working title of Raven Haired Beauty. Granted it's a composition based on someone else's photograph--and wouldn't qualify as a totally accurate portrait, but it works for me all the same.

This is a 3-day class spread over three Sundays, one each in March, April, and May, and I took it last year as a "beginner". I'm coming in this year as an "intermediate" student, I guess. Last time I wrote about the surfaces that I most like for working with pastel, I was becoming a big fan of working directly on canvas. The piece shown in this post is on PastelBord, which could also fast become a favorite surface, and I've got some of the Colourfix paper from Art Spectrum to try too. Both have really toothy surfaces...akin to sandpaper. I have to admit that I love the way the pastels just crawl into the crevices. On the other hand, my blending fingers feel like I've been rubbing them on sandpaper--smooth and a little sore!

I look forward to learning something new...and to getting out of the house this weekend to meet a few new people. Now that volleyball season is all over, and the snow frequency has finally dropped to maybe once a week...with maybe just a flurry or two this week...there's more time to do things other than move snow around!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Parting with Artistic Donations

For whatever reason, the post that I wrote yesterday got lost in space. So, I'm here again writing about the donation that I made to Wisconsin Public Television for its annual Arts & Antiques auction to be held in May.

There's something even more difficult about parting with a one-of-a-kind pastel than with a print of a photo...and it's even more disconcerting NOT knowing what kind of home will display the piece. If I sell a piece directly to a person, I can at least do a preliminary evaluation of the adoptive parents...

Here's the description that they'll read "on air" for the piece:

This Giant Panda, drawn in a realistic style using soft pastel on a canvas panel, gazes wistfully off to his left while nestled comfortably in a tree.

Rendered primarily in shades of navy and cream, the panda rests against a pale blue-green sky and tealy-green undergrowth in the distance.

Unlike most pastels, this piece has been protected from the elements with a clear layer of acrylic gel medium and UV fixative, enabling display without the need to hide behind glass. The piece is framed by a rich brown leatherette mat glazed with acrylic in a simple square lacquer-coated birch frame.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It was a cold, dark night...

...and it wasn't snowing. Yes, the sky was absolutely clear last night for the glorious lunar eclipse.

I watched as much as I could in the early stages, and then caught up with it again after the last volleyball game of the season.

Crazy gal that I am, I really was outside for several 15-minute stints in sub-zero weather trying to get a decent photo of the event...both to warm my camera and myself. It always seems more troublesome for the camera and my glasses with the fogging factors than it seems to be for me.

I was able to watch a little more of the progress of the eclipse from my bedroom window, and even removed the screen and poked my head out the window to try a few more photographic attempts, but they were less successful than the earlier ones. Sometimes it's really better to just stop while you're ahead!

Thank goodness for the ecliptical distraction...otherwise I'd have been even more bummed about the volleyball loss. Since it's single elimination tournament time, it's quite disappointing. Even more annoying is our 3rd ranked team losing to a team that we easily won over a few weeks ago and that was ranked in 11th place.

I really appreciate the subs who popped in to play for our players who are recovering from a sprained ankle and working to achieve success in a finance class. I'm also disappointed in a particular team member who gives up well before the match is over, but that's their chosen lot in life, I guess.

Me, I've been involved in athletics too long to know that the outcome of the game isn't over until they throw us off the field or court or rink or track. I honestly don't mind losing if the game was well-played...or, at least, can get over the loss with a good night's sleep.

On the other hand, if players aren't playing the whole game or don't put forth effort when it's the stuff they don't like to do, that's another story entirely. There are parts of having been a competitive athlete in high school and college that seem to follow me FORevA. I want to win...but I want the team to do well and work well together as a unit. I don't think there's room on teams for prima donas, whether the team is an athletic one or a business one. It always has an adverse effect...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Waiting on my new dryer...

and, again for the next round of snow to start. Yes, Wisconsin has already had a record-breaking amount of snow for the 2007-2008 winter. I believe the statistics have noted that there have been 42 days so far with significant snowfall. And generally that means that my blogging, creative, and relaxation times have been significantly impacted by the piles of white stuff that remain outside. This is the first winter that really feels like the winters I remember as a kid. Of course the big differerce is that my energy gets expended moving snow around rather than moving around on the snow...

I'm home this morning for my perfunctory 3-hour time window appliance delivery. In theory, they actually will call my cell phone an hour before they're scheduled to get here. And with almost every-other-day snow shoveling activities, I have a few moments to blog after a teeny-tiny house cleaning. Crash, of course, would prefer that I be spending this time playing with him (he's not being neglected...he's got his lovely spitty squeaky toy that he drops at my feet every 70 characters or so...that I kindly toss in return as soon as I'm sure I won't forget my immediate train of thought. He's even tried to help with the writing, but he's more likely to type something from the numpad than the main portion of the keyboard...he's definitely got his own way to communicate. ; )

This 3-hour time window is today between 9am and noon. Back in the days when I was a permanent employee, taking time off like this was no biggie. It's different when it means that I'm losing billable hours during this wait time. Yes, I could have driven over to the office this morning and came back when they called to tell me they'd be here in an hour, but with the original snow prediction from last night, I expected that I'd not only be doing a little straightening up, but also taking care of some snow removal. Instead, I have a few minutes to breathe...and in my infinite wisdom, got caught up in finishing a novel before turning in last night, and pretty much am ready to take a nap rather than do anything productive. I just can't get by with 4 hours of sleep like I used to live on as a college student. Heck, I'll be in sleep debt probably through the weekend all for needing to finish a leisurely read. Yet some things remain comfortably the same: I love reading at night, have trouble putting books down, and still hate mornings.

PS. The delivery is on it's way. Yippee! Better yet, my new website is officially available for test viewing. See it now!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Getting the new website ready

I've been developing new content and a whole new style for my ElectriKolor website, and am about a week shy of re-launching the site. The writing part has been easy, the design part has been relatively easy, and the most difficult part yet to complete is the online transaction processing part. But I'll get that done soon enough.

Last year around this time, I began immersing my online efforts into Etsy, which was supposed to primarily be an online venue for handmade goods. If the truth is told, the major portion of the site's sales come from supplies, which are mostly commercial items being resold by online members. Of course, this is an excellent business model, in which Etsy itself profits from the transactions of creative sellers buying from their online "friends" instead of evil big box stores. It's apparently not a big deal if the individual seller sells things at a hefty mark-up, though...

The organization of Etsy itself is benefitting from those of us trying online selling for the first time, touting itself as a great community, and using the most successful sellers there as their model citizens. Of course, most of the listed "seller" members of Etsy now have shops that are either empty or haven't been updated in months. Many of the buyers are actually sellers, who love taking whatever money ends up in their PayPal account as sales proceeds and going right back and spending the money on something cute on Etsy. Again, this is an excellent business plan for Etsy. Get people in to the organization listing their items and relisting their items to gain exposure on the site, and while they're off waiting for customers to come into their store, ensure that they go off and tell other sellers just exactly how much they ♥ the other folks shops. If the hearts actually translated into sales, then that would be of interest to me...

The other parts of Etsy that I find to be most problematic are their totally FUBAR search engine and the fact that as a seller, you're expected to bring your customers to their site, but once you do, you really don't have easy and direct access to the members that you brought in. That is, unless you communicate outside of Etsy. Yes, Etsy does allow members to "convo" each other...but don't do it too often or include information that might seem repetitive. Heck, even cutting and pasting a common thank you note to your buyer can reduce your "convo" privileges. Heaven forbid if you want to contact the customers who have shown any interest in your products by marking them as their favorites...that's considered spam. No, you can't offer your customers or potential customers opt in/opt out permissions for your portion of the site.

If I were to go into more of a rant, I'd talk about the fact that the folks who are pumping the ideas into the site don't know jack about business and have been losing sellers who become successful or who just get "fed up" with the kinds of toys that they keep adding to the site. Yes, I love Flash as a tool for delivering online content, but if you don't have the simple site basics running like a well-oiled machine, what the heck do you need another shiny new useless tool that customers won't use? Etsy would benefit from a visit from a usability expert. Heaven knows they refuse to pay attention to the sellers and buyers who've been identifying their pain points for at least the last year that I've been trying to make sense of things over there.

End Etsy rant for now...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I guess I'm just a flake-lover...

Sweet goodness of's back below freezing and a nice new white blanket of snowcover has restored my faith in the elements!

Those 40+ degree days did a lot of melting of our December snows, but now things are getting back to being where they should be for a Wisconsin Winter. For a few days there, I was having Nashville winter flashbacks...not a pretty scenario. It's wonderful that global warming hasn't yet destroyed the entire planet.

: )

Thursday, January 3, 2008

-7 to >40 degrees is just downright crazy...

Okay, okay, I love the cold weather and the fact that we almost set the biggest snowfall record in the month of December. Last night actual temperatures dropped below -7°F and today reached a balmy 20°F. That part is fine. We've still got a compacted snow cover outside and on many of the roofs of the well-insulated houses.
But...there's a darn warm front headed this way. Enough to pop the temps up another 20 degrees, and melt enough of the snow to have to consider things like flooding (all the storm drains are pretty much frozen solid with snow and ice right now) and yards that turn into extra large super slushies. Can you tell that I'd prefer things stay frozen for a little while longer?
There was an error in this gadget