Thursday, February 28, 2013

So Many Things

This week has gone by in a blur.  I had a few days off at work and I spent the time as wisely as possible.

One of the best things I did was check out this show at NIU's art gallery. The closing reception is tonight and that includes an artist talk which I'm sad to miss. Do you know what you are looking at? All Bugs!! Those vines creeping up the wall... huge moths.  It is unbelievable.  I spent so long studying each bug and object. The artist is Jennifer Angus and you can find info about the show and her work here.

I finally bought a huge balloon this week and decorated it with my garlands and poms.  I know this idea has been floating around the web a lot lately and I am working on finding ways to decorate in my own way but I thought it would be nice to offer this service locally. I'm still figuring out the details.

I also worked on figuring out displays for the barn sale in May.  I did a little tutorial on backing this window and I'll be writing about that soon.

I finished up the night with this little heart pinata box. It was a little hard to make but I'm hoping with more practice I'll get better.
I'm working on a lot of party supplies.  I'd really like this to be my thing. I love the decorations that make a beautiful party, hence my name. I have had this name for a long time and it started with me making art about a ghost at parties where he felt all alone. Maybe I was the ghost in the scenario but now I'm abandoning that lonely feeling and focusing on the decorations. It's happier on that side of things.

Have a great day today.  Buy yourself a heart shaped balloon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hello Blog

Today has been one of my favorite days in my studio.  My walls are filling up with color and they are looking like this:

This morning I hit the ground running and started working on these two new garlands.  I finished the top one but I am still debating the bottom one. It's hard to see but the stick on the bottom is completely wrapped in fabric.  I'm not sure if I think the poms on the bottom one are two big.  I'm probably being a little too cautious and weary because of all the time it took to wrap the stick. I need to just make a decision and finish it.

 These are some oldies.  I love how they all look together.  It's making me get excited for upcoming sales!

I finished this piece this afternoon and I couldn't be happier with it! I listed it in my shop tonight and already got a custom order to make one for a nursery.  I can't wait to get started on that.

It's been fun lately in the studio although I am still feeling the usual stress of figuring out how to divide my time. I have enjoyed making all these colorful crafts and filling up my etsy shop but I am also trying to find the time to slow down and try to work on some paintings. My brain has been swirling with ideas and visions but I feel torn between slowing down and working quickly and having finished products at the end of the day.  I supposed I should just be happy with my current productivity and not complain about time. It's beens so long since I have worked so diligently and the ideas keep flowing. 

Okay, so I'll just be happy and let it be. Easy! Right??

Monday, February 18, 2013

More Pinterest Recipes

I have been thinking a lot lately about this "recipe" floating around in the Pinterest blogosphere and finally decided to give it a try the other night.  These little frozen yogurt pieces look so yummy, don't they?

One Good Thing

Before I went to bed I opened up a little container of strawberry Greek yogurt and poured in into a ziplock bag and cut a hole in the corner. I maybe could have been a little more artistic with the way I cut the hole and it could have been a bit smaller but it did what I needed it today. I made little drops of yogurt in a container lined with wax paper and then tossed it in the freezer. This morning I was anxious to try it out. 

First of all, mine did not look nearly as pretty as the cuties above. Mine had blobby shapes and were colored a pale pink, almost like skin.  I was able to look past that part though this picture definitely won't win me any beautiful blog awards.  

These tasted ok.  I am still on the fence about how I really feel. I think the Greek yogurt was a bad choice because it is such a thick and hearty yogurt and this one had chunks of strawberry in it. I think If I went with a plain Yoplait yogurt it would have been prettier and tastier.  They were a nice snack at work but they do melt pretty quickly.  I will definitely try it again in the summer. In the meantime I'll just stick to eating my yogurt as it comes. It's good that way!

 In more artsy news I am part of this months papernstitch exhibition!  I haven't had work on this site in a while. I'm pretty happy with my shop right now so I thought it would be nice to try to expand my audience.  I've been brainstorming ideas on where I can go with abeautifulparty and what I can see is that I'm really starting to pay attention to the name and what that really means.  The future feels good!

Check out my shop and all the other wonderful shops exhibiting there. And if you found your way to my blog through papernstitch, Welcome! Thank you for stopping in!

I'm off to sleep and dream about bunnies a streamers and macaroons! 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Post Valentine Heart

Yesterday I had another great creative day!  I have been pushing myself to try new things and am finally putting my DIY board from Pinterest to good use!

I have always wanted to make a mini pinata and the other day I bought this paper mache heart ornament so I finally dove right in with it. I love the results and can't wait to make more pinata-type things.
 It was super easy to do. I used leftover crepe streamers from Friday's Surprise Ball tutorial and cut little bits of fringe into them. The one thing I learned was that it is easiest to work from front to back at the same time instead of doing all front at once and then all the back.  It got a little tricky to tuck and hide the end pieces but it was still pretty easy and mostly a no-fail project.
I also painted jars like it was my job yesterday.  I think I might dip these beauties in gold paint for an extra pop of color.  I love that honey bear. If anyone local saves their honey bear containers I would love to take them off your hands if they're looking for a home.  These jars are all getting ready for a new project I will excitedly be unveiling at this Spring's Nada Farm Barn Sale!

 As I was winding down last night I added a few more items to my shop including this repurposed vintage Avon jar with a Silver horse on top. I thought this would be beautiful on a vanity table as a ring storage.
Avon Horse Jar
 This little faux terrarium was also added.  The flowers aren't real which means they will always stay alive! Oh, and the horse isn't real either. It's just a toy. ( ;
Horse Terrarium
It's time for a different kind of work for me today but I anticipate just as much creativity. Have a beautiful ending to your weekend!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Surprise Balls

You guys!! We didn't get hit by an asteroid and I made this surprise ball! (Can you call it a ball when it's a little bit lumpy?)  I spent the better part of the morning staring at the sky and being terrified of what might come out of it. The asteroid that was supposed to fly by was still a little too close for my comfort. Once I got the all clear that it definitely missed us I felt lighter and ready to start making stuff happen. What if today had been the last day?  I don't want to get too into it because it's pretty cheesy but these thoughts helped me wake up a bit and think more and well... finally make a surprise ball. ( :

I have been dying to try one of these. They are pure eye candy.  I found a great tutorial here and after looking it over I felt like it would be pretty easy.

One thing I am not short on in my studio is knick knacks and party supplies, the two main ingredients for making a surprise ball. Since this was just a practice round I didn't use as many awesome treasures as I would like.  I pulled a few different things together and got to work.

The streamers work best when they are 1" wide so I started by cutting off a large section of streamer and then trimming it down the middle.  I learned that it is best to start with your larger items so I started with this noisemaker. Start wrapping until it is completely covered. Try to vary the wrapping angles.

Once that is covered I used a glue stick to hold the end of the streamer down.  Then I took this dino toy and placed it in a way that would help create a shape. I then wrapped it with more yellow. The tail on the toy was a bit difficult to work with. I'll probably stay away from that kind of shape next time.

It's hard to see in the picture but the two items together are in a weird shape once wrapped so I used this finger puppet in the gap to try to start getting a circular shape. I'll admit it was really hard.

Now that I have a tidier "package" I added this bottle of bubbles. Next time I think I would start with the bubbles. (And yes my studio is like one big Oriental Trading Co.).

At this point I was feeling pretty hopeless on getting a good ball shape.

But I kept on and started pulling in flatter items like this little tassel.

And then a feather. I used a few feathers in the process. I also used some balloons and stickers, too, but thought I would spare you the millions of pictures.

Once I got my ball to this point I could have kept on going but was running out of flat things. Next time I'll plan better with my surprises.  This seemed like a good stopping point and I realized I could kind of "smoosh" the ball a bit to get more of a round shape. I wish I had been doing that the whole time.

Since I decided I was done I started decorating the ball with strips of paper. I picked a spot and glued each streamer down end to end.

At the point where all the ends meet you can place a sticker to cover it up. All I could find were these gold stars so I glued them on.

I did it!  It's not perfect but that's okay. I got some ideas for next time.  A couple of things to keep in mind... Pull the streamers as tight as you can without breaking them. That helps keep them smooth. If it does break just glue that end down and start again.  And I can't stress how much it helped to cut the streamers in half.  I tried to cut corners as the ball got bigger and use the full width streamer but it looked really bad.  Do the extra work so it will be nice and tightly wrapped.  

I can't wait to make more and more.  It took a couple of hours for me to make this and that was with very few distractions. I made myself focus and was not allowed to even touch my phone while working. Hopefully the more I make these the faster I will get.

Now I'm off to make animal masks! Cheers!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kickstarter Makin' Art Happen!

 My sweet friend Cassie, or Catherine as she is formally known, has just launched a kickstarter to help her put together what sounds like a pretty beautiful art installation that will know your socks off. Cassie sent me these pictures of a previous exhibition that is a smaller scale of what she plans on doing and told me a little bit about the show...

From Cassie:
It's called wonder. It will be a large scale textile installation created entirely of hand dyed skeins of fiber hanging from the ceiling of a gallery in Kansas City's Power and Light district. 
The show will be in a year. March 2014

The idea for this installation came from a smaller fiber installation I created in May 2012 at the Invisible Hand Gallery in Lawrence KS (which has since moved locations). My show at the Invisible Hand was called A Slice of Light.
 Basically I am doing the same thing in the Plenum Space Gallery. The Gallery in KC has a GREAT exposed ceiling. When I walked in I thought to myself, " This place and this piece were made for each other! It was meant to be. 
Also some more big news that will prove challenging for the life of this piece is that we are going to have a baby girl in about 2 months. I am pretty pregnant and starting to enter the beached whale phase. :) 
But even with a little baby I think a year is plenty of time to get a lot of help and make this piece happen!
 I have worked with Cassie in the past and she's a very serious and dedicated artist.  Her images of her previous show are making me excited to see this in a bigger space and on a larger scale.  I think art is so powerful and when it is overwhelming in size it leaves me trembling a bit.  I love that kind of power it can have.

 Cassie needs to raise $3500 in order to make this project successful. Kickstarter is a neat way to go about fundraising because it allows everyone to contribute even just a little bit and feel like they are part of the art making process.  Many of the great artists we know today would not be as well known if not for generous benefactors who helped them make their work. Think of Marchel Duchamp... what would we do without his greatness?  Now you don't  have to be a millionaire to be part of this.  Every dollar counts.  Check out Cassie's Kickstarter page and see what you can do to help make this wonderful project happen.  Plus! For donating you get to take some of the art home. Wowee!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Glitter and Garland and Always a Bunny

Remember how last week I thought it would be neat to do a regular feature on artists who inspire me? And then remember how I said I am bad at doing regular features.  And then did  you notice how yesterday was Wednesday and there was nothing new on my blog?  And no, it's not because I'm not inspired by anyone. I'm plenty inspired.  I have lots to show you and lots I want to talk about. I guess the reason for a blog absence is as good a reason as any for an artist... I was working in my studio and lost track of anything and everything. It was a great day because for the first time in a while I feel confident and I am able to make things without getting too hung up on silly details.

Here is what my desk currently looks like. There isn't an inch of space not being used.

 And under the table? This cutie pie bunny keeping me company.  Sometimes it's hard to work because this rabbit wants you to pet her round the clock. How can you say no to that little button nose?
 On my walls are pom pom garlands just waiting for the extra frills.  I love making these.

Here is a sneak peak of some of my work.  I framed this pom pom piece and I'm a little worried that it looks too stuffed in the frame. But since I'm practicing letting things go I'm going to be okay letting it be what it is and learn a lesson from it the next time. And maybe it's fine. When I started this I envisioned it being packed full of garlands so maybe I'm just bringing my usual weird hangups to the table. Ugh. Hangups.

I started this one at the end of the night. I'm not quite sure where it's going yet but I really wanted to do this kind of backdrop. It was fun. I talked on the phone to a friend while I cut tiny pieces of fringe so now this piece reminds me of our phone conversation. Maybe i'll have tiny phones floating around?
 This is my new favorite. It's really simple and I was originally going to add more but I started to like the simplicity of it.  More is not always better. It's almost finished. I just need to sew the tassels to the glitter back drop.
Sometimes it feels like life is going in fast forward.  I have a million things in my brain that I want to do and make realities. I've learned to take things one step at a time but I think I could also stand to learn how to make a to-do list.


Monday, February 4, 2013

No More Tears Baby Shampoo


The other night I met with a former professor of mine and we talked a lot about where I am at with my artwork and how I'm doing with my studio practices.  So.... basically a critique.  It was a well needed intervention. I have been dragging my feet on the paintings I've been working on and not quite sure what to do with myself otherwise.  I was given great advice but mostly I was told to have fun with what I'm doing and make what makes me happy. It seems simple but it's easy to get worried about so many other things that you forget to just make stuff and let it be what it is.  

I want to start making more sculptural type things. I have ideas for large noisemakers and other larger-than-life party supplies.  This morning I was looking at these doilies with balloons that I used to make. I called them dolls and I used to float them inside shadowbox frames.  

So this got me thinking about making about the shadowbox frames I did with the banners and animals inside. You can find this one in my shop here.

And that thought begat this thought... I have been wanting to make big tissue paper garlands but didn't know what to do with something so large so I thought it would be neat to make a smaller scale that would fit inside a shadowbox frame. I sat at my table ready to work and started knocking out different pom pom flowers.

And you know what happened? I finished something in the same day that I started working on it. The only thing I need to do is paint the frame.  This is a final image but it will look pretty different inside a shadowbox.  I have seriously not finished a thing in one day in a billion years. I have not really even finished a thing at all in a million years.  I'm feeling pretty motivated and ready to try out different types of framed garlands.  

I'm having fun!

While on a productive roll I also listed this jar in my shop. It's not too late to get your Valentine a sweet gift.  These heart jars are one of my favorite styles.
I hope you had a super bowl of soup today. I had some chicken and dumpling soup.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Resolving Resolutions

At the beginning of the year I kept declaring different things as my new year's resolution.  I was like Michael Scott on The Office where he publicly declared bankruptcy and he thought that just by saying it out loud all his money problems were over.  If I said out loud all the things I wanted to change then the resolutions would resolve themselves, right?

I am just now realizing I actually have to physically do those things. Knowing that is half the battle, right? I'm always someone who says when I'm off work I will do all my laundry and clean the house and work in my studio. Instead I watch tv and make elaborate lunch salads and look online. Before I know it my day off is over and I maybe did some laundry?  I am now sincerely working on my follow-up to public resolutions declarations.

Look, I'll prove it. I finally took photos of a  lot of my work and got all these chalkboard animals listed in my shop!



I'm proud, it feels like I accomplished something important. Now I'm going to go make an elaborate lunch but it's only because I really am hungry. All this hard work stirred up my appetite. After lunch more items will be listed! Have a great weekend and get some stuff done!