Sunday, August 31, 2008

I get by...

...with a little help from my friends.

I am not good at asking for help, but this year, as a newly single bill-payer and homeowner, I've had to humble myself to do so several times, and I've learned something that should have been completely obvious. People like to help. They want to to help. It feels good to help someone -- I know this. I feel good when I help someone else, so why have I been so reluctant to ask for help when I need it? Simply put, I am guilty of pride. I pride myself on being able to do it all, but the fact is that I can't do it all. Sometimes I need help. And that doesn't make me less of a person. In fact, it makes me feel so fortunate that I am surrounded by so many people who care.

A few weeks ago, I had a mattress and boxspring delivered by two enormous men in need of a good dental plan. They were a jovial pair, grinning unself-consciously in spite of the fact that they didn't have a full set of teeth between them, and they were quite graceful given their girth, as they maneuvered the mattress and boxspring into my bedroom. Unfortunately, the weight of a heavy boxspring and two three-hundred pound men (I'm guessing) took it's toll on the stairs leading off my deck, and they collapsed. In the tradition of my mother, I "fixed" my stairs with a combination of bricks and wooden shims, camouflaged with flower pots, but I knew this was a sad and temporary solution. I really needed to get the stairs repaired.

So I asked one of my neighbors and fellow dog-walkers who is now retired and has been busying himself with handyman work. And of course, he was happy to help. The very next morning - before 9 am (on a weekend!) he arrived with tools in hand and whistled his way through the job in about an hour, refusing to take payment (which was a relief, because I didn't have any money to pay him either!!! :>)

So now I will leave you with a digital collage I just made(above). I started with the picture of daisies taken on my friend Debbie's farm (rotated sideways) and transformed it in Photoshop.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A simply perfect day making art with friends...

My dear friend Marilyn invited me, along with my other dear friend Laura, to her house for a day of art, lunch and conversation last Friday, and it was just what I needed. I've really been in an artistic funk this summer, and there's nothing like being surrounded by enthusiastic and artistic friends to motivate me. We began with coffee and a leisurely visit in Marilyn's sun room, eventually retreated to her art studio and then enjoyed a scrumptious salad that was as much a work of art as Marilyn's inedible creations. There are wonderful touches of Marilyn and her art in every room of her home -- altered vintage birdhouses, distressed furniture pieces and great flea market finds among them.

Here is a glimpse of the technique that Marilyn taught us that day, which she calls "the big dark." She is currently teaching this class at the Albany Art Room, so I will not reveal the secrets of the technique here, but it was a truly fun and freeing way of painting, and I'll be playing with this technique again soon.

As most of my readers know, this summer has marked a time of transition and change for me, and I am still navigating it all. I feel a bit adrift at times, and I just haven't been able to create a lot of art lately. I am not pushing it, as I have found that forcing it never works. Instead, I am busying myself with my home, friends and family, and I fully expect the inspiration and art will return in their own good time. When I tell friends and other artists about my dilemma, the feedback is interesting. Some find that periods of change and stress help their art -- it's a place for them to escape to. This makes sense to me, but it's unfortunately not the way I am wired. I can't seem to "get lost in my art" when my brain is working furiously about too many other things.

But this day spent with friends reminds me that even though I have lost my way a little and am adjusting to new routines, I still love creating, and I'll find my way back to it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Another enormous rubber stamp & craft supplies sale

One of my best friends (formerly a 101 teacher at Stampassion) is undertaking the enormous challenge of turning her basement into an inlaw apartment, and has to make room by seriously cleaning out her beloved supply of rubber stamps and craft supplies. (I know -- exhanging her precious art supplies for inlaws? Not exactly a fair exchange.) Since my home is centrally located and I have side street parking, I've offered my house as the location for her sale. I may even toss a few items from my over-full craft room into the mix (although that's still up in the air -- I'm very attached.)
I cannot tell you how amazing her collection is, and she is prepared to part with it for a fraction of the original prices. Hundreds of the stamps (and there are MANY hundreds, if not thousands) are brand-spanking new. Below I have also listed some of the other items you will find at this sale. I also took a few quick pictures of just some of what will be there.
You are all invited to stop by, and please spread the word to anyone else that you think might be interested.
If I have a chance, we will also be offering little goodies & surprises for everyone who stops by --
Giant Rubber Stamp & Craft Sale
Saturday, August 16, 2008 (Rain date of Sunday, August 17, same time)
10 am - 3 pm
I am not posting my address here, although I think most of the world could find me if need be - if you are interested and don't know where I live, send me an email.

HUNDREDS of gently used rubber stamps from companies such as Dawn Houser, Laurel Birch, Rubbermoon, Savvy, Art Impressions, House Mouse, Claudi Rose, Mostly Animals, Magenta, Stampfrancisco, Stamp in the Hand, Paper Parachute, Hero Arts, Stampendous, Hot Potatoes, Zimprints
-- You'll find new sets, cubes, giant backgrounds, asian designs, fabric stamps, holiday images and MORE...
-- 1 xyron 850 machine with several cartridges
-- 1 xyron create a sticker
--1 xyron x-sticker maker & cartridge
-- 1 unopened pasta machine
-- home pro eyelet setter
-- clay tools
-- large paper cutter
-- stamp o graph stamp positioner
-- tons of embellishments, brass charms, beads, silver plated charms, eyelets
-- paper punches, embossing powders, pearl ex sets, chalks

Stampable items - brown craft purses, boxes, birdhouses & assorted shapes
Stampable childrens clothing - brand new onesies, shirts, tote bags
Die cut papers, assembly cards, accordian cards & books, note cards, vellum, preprinted papers

Ink pads like new, with re-inkers from Ancient Page, Brilliance, Color box, chalk inks

We hope to see you there!!!
Here is just a fraction of the merchandise -- see how pristine it all is!!!
and yes, all of those pizza boxes are full of stamps, as well as the tote
in the background & all of what is on my dining room table!!!