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DIY Dress Form on a *tight* Budget! Booyah!!

I have to say, this is one of the most informative and useful do-it-yourself blog posts I have ever come across online. No lie!!

Once you click on the following link, you will learn how to make this dress form for approximately $35 or less:

DIY Dress Form

Follow this link: http://love2upcycle.blogspot.com/2011/07/love-2-diy-on-weekend-diy-dress-form.html and learn how to DIY!!

I totally need a dress form, not because I sew or make clothing, but for my vintage shop! I have aprons, coverall aprons, and dresses that I’ve posted in my shop that could have way better photos with a better chance of selling if they were displayed on a dress form rather than just a hanger or laid out on a table. But dress forms… they’re so expensive! And with my kind of budget, they’re not only expensive, they’re outrageous!

I found this tutorial on Etsy’s Upcyclers Team’s website and definitely wanted to share it with as many fellow artists or vintage entrepreneurs as I could.  I bookmarked the above blog post on my desktop. I will totally be using it and the links in it to make a dress form in the near future.

Oh, and by the way, if you haven’t checked out Etsy’s Upcyclers Team (of which I just so happen to be a member), then you need to subscribe to their website:  http://love2upcycle.blogspot.com/, go like their Facebook Page, and follow them on Twitter!!

 

 

 

 

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Motivation, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me??

Why have I been having so much trouble recently doing all the things that need doing?

I’ve always been an overachiever. It’s in my blood. That’s just what I do. At any given point during my adult life I’ve always been working on several different projects and goals under several different deadlines, but recently… I’ve just seemed to stare at my computer screen and idly leaf through webpages looking at all the things other people have been doing instead.

I have things that need to be posted in my vintage shop online. I have things that I need to finish working on for my art shop and I have things that I need to start working on too. I have wedding favors to make. I have an entire apartment to pack for next month’s move. etc etc etc sigh…

All my body and mind wants to do right now is take naps. All the time. Oh, and write a blog complaining about it.

GRRRR!

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My Dining Room Art Studio or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mess.

I haven’t had a dedicated studio space since I graduated college 3 years ago. And it’s killing me.

For a while there, I had an extra large bedroom space in my apartment before Chuck and I got married, and I had everything spread out there within about an 8′ x 11′ space. It was managable, but oh so NOT a studio. Since this past January, I’ve taken over about a third of the living area and most of the dining area in our current apartment with boxes and books and paper and glue and paint and canvases and mostly just my “stuff and junk and crap.” My family has been so awesome about having to live around the chaos. They patiently help me clear off the dining room table and all the floor space around it (where the chairs are supposed to go) every single night in order for us to eat supper. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive husband and daughter.

Every once in a while when I ask Guacamolly to clean her room because it’s so messy you can barely see the floor, she comes back with, “But I’m an artist just like you, Mommy!” My heart fills with pride and embarrassment all at the same time. Will I ever have a dedicated studio space with room for all my mess (that won’t interrupt our family meal times) again? Sigh…

Our poor dining room...

And then I stop and think about how lucky I have it. I’m able to work on my art as my (fledgling) career from my home in the first place. Chuck works all week, sometimes from the office, sometimes from home, to pay the rent and bills and buy the gas and groceries. He not only supports me following my dream of making and selling art, he WANTS me to follow my dream.  So it may not be the perfect set-up (i.e. a dedicated studio), but at least I’ve got it set up at all, know what I mean?

I do make a little money here and there. I pay at least one bill every other month or so, and I can usually pay for my own gas, and sometimes even groceries! And every time I make even $5, Chuck and Guacamolly get so excited and proud of me.

In short, artists, embrace whatever mess you may have turned your surroundings into. I’ve learned that following your dreams can get messy and moving forward in your life is not usually a neat and clean experience. Keep fighting through what you have at the moment and working towards your goal (of your own studio eventually!) and it’ll pay off in the end.

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Yay for paperback books!

Lookee what I got today! 15 paperbacks for only about 12 cents each!

Used book stores are so cool. I left my business card with them and told them to keep me in mind whenever they have surplus to dispose of from now on. I can definitely use it :) And whatever scraps are leftover that I don’t use for the current project I’m using these for, will be saved and used for other projects or sent to the recycler.

As the guy at the counter was bagging these up for me I said, “I think these might be enough for the project I’m making right now. I might be back soon though.” He laughed and gave me a weird look, raising one eyebrow. Art is awesome.

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April’s Art Auction

Something I should have blogged about three months ago, but never got around to it- Guacamolly’s first grade class project that I helped with back in April for Teasley Elementary’s Purple Party and Art Auction!

I did write up a little blog post about the piece of art that I donated to the auction to help them raise money, but I never got around to writing about the piece of art that Guac’s class collaborated on.

So, each class at the school made something to be auctioned off at the fundraiser. Mrs. Ivey (Guac’s teacher) and I brainstormed about what to make- something that all 20 kids in the class would each have a part of. I suggested something having to do with recycled materials, or “upcycled” art. We didn’t really have any kind of budget for this project, so we wanted to make sure that whatever we used, could be free, or at least as cheap as possible. I donated pretty much all of the materials including the 4′ x 3′ canvas, all of the paint and glue, and tons of stuff I had lying around like buttons, stamps, confetti, paper scraps, plastic lids from soda bottles and milk cartons. Mrs. Ivey also had lots of stuff in a huge storage bin in her room- scraps of paper, string, tissue paper, cotton balls, etc.

I gave the canvas a coat of pale lavender paint, gridded it off so that each kid would have their own square to decorate, and viola! After spending the entire day on the floor (egad, my knees hurt BAD for the next week!) of the classroom helping the kids each become fabulous artists in their own rights, the finished product was this:

Isn’t it great? The pictures don’t do it justice. I took this particular picture right after it was done, so the glue and paint and what not was all still wet. I didn’t get a picture of it standing up on an easel or hanging on the wall, darn it. Oh well.

There were 4 squares left over after each kid designed their own, so Mrs. Ivey decorated one, and I filled in the last 3 with leftover paint and odds and ends. I wrote Teasly 2011 in one of them:

After I left it to dry over the weekend on the floor of the classroom, I came and picked it up, took it home, and painted layer after layer of Modge Podge and Elmer’s glue over it to seal in all the buttons and stuff. I really hope that it’s held up well for whoever bought it at the art auction. It would suck if all the stuff started falling off, piece by piece, and ended up on the floor behind their sofa or something.

I sent out a few emails to the PTA mothers who were in charge of the auction and the donated art pieces, trying to find out how much things sold for. I would really like to know how much money my personal donated artwork and this classroom project raised for the school. Nobody ever got back in touch with me though. I do know that the entire auction (tickets and dinners included, not just the art) raised roughly $11,000 for the school, all of which paid for field trips for everyone- a little over 500 kindergarten through fifth graders at Guac’s school.

I never thought I would be such an involved mom at my daughter’s school, I just never thought that was me, ya know? Grownup responsibility? That’s crazy talk.  But the older Guac gets, the more I do. I paid my PTA dues at the beginning of the school year, I volunteered 3 days a week in the media center, I volunteered at the Scholastic Book Fair,  I helped with art projects at Xmas and and this auction, and I chaperoned one of the field trips to the petting zoo. I never thought I would ever admit this, but being a mom’s not half bad :)

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Look what I’ve been working on! Wedding Favors…

Last month, a customer ordered a set of my paperback book ornament sculptures from my Etsy shop. I made them, shipped them off, and left feedback. Pretty normal transaction, right?

paperback book ornament sculptures

Well, she then proceeded to send me a message via Etsy and asked if I would be interested in making a custom order for her of about 100 – 125 of them as wedding favors for her guests at her September 2011 wedding. What? Oh, wow! I was honored and flattered that she wanted MY art in her wedding, her special day. I messaged her back, “Of course! That sounds awesome!”

Fast forward one month and countless emails later… She has paid her deposit on the ornaments and I am in full swing of making 120 of these little bad boys. She has requested 60 sphere-shaped ones and 60 diamond-shaped ones, all with navy ribbon. She’s also had shipped to me 120 beautiful little labels with her and her fiance’s names and the date of the wedding on them, and 120 3x3x3″ one-piece gift boxes so I can individually box each ornament before shipping them to her.

Here’s a picture that I emailed her the other night of two of the ornaments that I’ve made so far so she could see how they looked with the navy ribbon and the raspberry colored labels on them:

wedding favor ornaments

Within the emails going over details and logistics of the favors and the shipping and the customization, I found out  she wasn’t even planning on having any sort of favor at her wedding in the first place until she saw my item in my Etsy shop. The theme of their wedding is “Book of Love” and she just couldn’t resist these once she saw them. I thought that was so cool! She loved my ornaments so much that it prompted her to not only have favors, but also spend even more money on labels and individual boxes for them!

I have lots and lots of work to do before September. 120 ornaments is no small task, you know? BUT, I hope to make this just the *first* of my custom orders for wedding favors… I’m gonna try to publicize these like crazy. What a good market to get in, huh? I’m gonna make sure I request that her wedding photographer get some good pictures of these babies on the tables at her reception so I can put together an awesome portfolio.

Yay!!!

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My first commission is… “strangely professional.”

Hello friends and loyal readers. I’ve been absent from my blog for a week or two now. Life has been going full force recently. Which is good– I’m not complaining or anything… I just haven’t had the time to sit down and write a new post on here for a little while. I figured what better day to waste time in front of the computer than the day I have a huge job interview? I have so much to do today to get ready. EEEEP!

So last week, I completed my first actual commission of my artwork. I was asked to make some wall decorations for my husband’s work, Social Street Media. Our friend Jennifer is the owner of Social Street Media and she said just to make something cool. She wanted something mixed media. Instead of making one piece of art, I made six different framed mixed media/found object pieces that go together.

I delivered them out to their office last week, but I wasn’t able to install them yet because Jennifer’s waiting on a large vinyl business logo to go in the center of the wall of the front reception room, and as soon as it’s up the pieces I made will go up around it.

I snapped a couple of quick pictures here in my makeshift studio (aka my dining room) before I delivered them. I was planning on taking some photos of them once they got hung up at the office but since that didn’t happen last week, the photos for my portfolio are forthcoming.

I went with a wood and metal theme for the most part. I chose to make the backgrounds of the pieces pages from various books- a Spanish/English dictionary, Peter Rabbit, Huckleberry Finn, Super Fudge (remember that book from when we were kids?), etc, because the business is all about writing. Professional Writing Services and what not. Sorry the above picture is kinda yellowish, my camera at the time sucked horribly. I have a new one now that seems awesome so far. I have yet to take pictures of my art with it. I think it’s gonna kick ass, though.

The background for this one is made of pages from an English thesaurus. The pages contain the words “social,” “street,” “media,” and various others. I’m super proud of the four hand-cut filigrees in the corners. I made them from paperback book covers. I impressed myself. I also wanted to incorporate a handmade look to the business logo in juxtaposition to the sleek graphic-designed actual logo.

Jennifer said she loved them and even ended up paying me a little extra than what I charged her for them. I thought it was super sweet.

When Chuck (my husband) first saw the finished project, he described them as “strangely professional.” I gave him shit about it, but it was an awesome compliment, actually. For the most part, my art can be described as contemporary: fun or funky, young, modern, and “hip,” if you will. teehee!  But when I need to knock something out that’s appropriate for an office- a professional commission- I think this proves that I can do it.

Do you have any more ideas or suggestions for me for the next time I have a commission? Do you have an actual commission you want to hire me for? I need the work for my portfolio! Now is the time to contact me about it because I’m still an up and coming artist as far as that goes, so my prices are quite reasonable still. Just wait until I’m rich and famous! Soon I’ll be charging exorbitant amounts :)

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