Thursday, August 27, 2009

Marcella Welch

Sue and I had the privilege of attending a surprise 60th birthday party for Marcella Welch in Atlanta, Georgia. Marcella is an amazing artist that we met many years ago at a doll conference in California. I'm not exactly sure what it was that brought us together in the back row of conference gatherings...observing, commenting and weaving a friendship. We only saw each other at these events, took part in a couple of collaborative projects, met up in DC when we both had a doll on Bill and Hillary's Christmas Tree.

I emailed her a couple of years ago to see how things were going and she let me know that she had just been diagnosed with brain cancer. After a couple of weeks she said that she wouldn't be able to communicate for a while because she was going in for treatment. I didn't hear anything after that. As time went by, I kept wondering if she was okay...I rehearsed a phone conversation a million times but never made it...

An email arrived this spring from Marcella's daughter LaShawnda inviting us to Marcella's Surprise 60th Birthday Party!!! Yea, she lived!!! So, Atlanta in August no problem!! We went, we surprised her very much, met her beautiful mother Hellon, other family and friends. We cruised around Marietta, GA on a lovely Saturday morning...the farmers market, had an amazing breakfast, had eyeball popping fun wandering through Fit for a Queen and found Artgirlz product at Rubber Stamp Fantasy, 115 Church Street ...The Party was beautiful, and we were thrilled to be there!!!!

Due to the weather we missed our flight home and ended up staying with Marcella, husband Curtis, mom Hellon for another bonus day!! Fresh carrot juice, a beautiful home and art and art supplies were everywhere. Projects and piles of supplies were spread throughout the home...paints, dyes, cotton, wool, clay, yarns, beads, sewing machines...flowing over and under tables...

It was very inspiring to see her work, works in progress, piles of materials, hearing what she had been through, seeing how the family supports her, and knowing that she is back at her work and wants to continue to teach, and work her magic.
We will be selling her rubber stamps very soon! Look for them!

Monday, August 24, 2009

We are back to our home in Florida and to enjoying our life at the "resort".
I am not sure if it is the abundant sunshine,
the warm temps or our turquoise pool that makes me feel like this way
but I am trying to practice living in the moment so that I can really relish this resort living.

This weekend, when we weren't riding to the beach to check the big surf,
I was working on a new bracelet.
It is made on simple elastic thread and "e" beads
and strung with little felt beads.

Be sure to check the website for the pattern which should be available soon.

After making my bracelet
this is how my studio table looked on Sunday night.

Are Tracy and I the only ones who can fill up a large horizontal space in a matter of minutes?

We would like to thank all of the people that responded to our last blog,
with either an order or a few kind words.
Your support was very uplifting
and it helps us to continue doing all of the things we need to get done everyday.
Thanks for being a part of Artgirlz Nation!

We couldn't do it with out you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Midge and I arrived in RI about 5 days ago. It has been heart warming to see all of our friends and family. We must be getting to be more Floridian than we think because we are looking at the New England country side like it is the hills of Worcestershire. We keep comparing the temperature to Florida and all of our friends add to this by asking us "is it this hot in Florida?"

It is good to be back at Artgirlz World Headquarters, around all of the creative energy that Tracy and Linda have been cooking up. The bad news is our business has been slowing over the past year and now it is getting so slow that we are constantly fighting off stress, worry and big questions about what the future holds.

We have worked so hard over the past five years to build Artgirlz Nation and it is hard to think of letting it go. We have built our little company from our little investment in our basement. We learned all aspects of business as we went along, from how to design a fabulous trade show booth on a shoe string, to how to get, organize and print UPC codes. It has sometimes been stressful but often fun, invigorating and worthwhile. It has given us the opportunity to travel and meet new people from around the world. The greatest gift through all this has been the loving encouragement we have received from our customers.

I keep trying to find a space of comfort. I find myself worrying all of the time. I try to be grateful and know that there are others that have it so much harder than I do and be open to the idea that all is well in my happy little life. My self-will can't fix it but Powerball is $217,000,000 and I have a ticket.

While the wonders of Powerball and the quirky ups and downs of the universe do their thing, we are having a great we carve out some breathing room, ideas are still floating, diving, whirling around just waiting to come into being!

Any tips?

Friday, August 07, 2009

PaperArtsy Stamps are in the House!
We have had the pleasure of meeting Mark and Leandra about 5 years ago and have loved every minute that we've been able to spend with them on both sides of the pond. Picture above was in England in '07 I believe. We visited their lovely home in the middle of a field with 4 children and and their rubber stamp studio/production area! To watch Leandra work is most amazing. She is fast and produces wonderful mixes of materials. Mark's brain is filled with wonderful and abundant amounts of information about all of the techie things I always want to know about. They both make a mean rubber stamp from beginning to end. Sadly we haven't seen each other in a while but they are still rockin'!!!!

We finally put our collection of PaperArtsy Stamps (p. 3) up on the website. Rosie and Linda put some great PaperArtsy/Artgirlz Bundles together that will give you lots of creative options! They include two random mini stamps with lots of other materials for making ATC's, Inchies and a blank Book.
Because this stamp makes a great background visual texture we used it on all of these samples!
These surfaces were colored with Ranger Distress Ink sponged onto the paper.
PaperArtsy bubble stamp with Ranger Distress Ink
Random application of gesso with credit card
"Splodger" as it is called in PaperArtsy world.

Simply add Artgirlz Charms to make one of a kind jewelry pieces!
Check out their website to see the whole collection of stamps and other goodies.
The PaperArtsy Blog is filled with visuals and great ideas!

ATC layered with inchie, Artgirlz and PaperArtsy Stamps

Check out their website to see the whole collection of stamps and other goodies.
The PaperArtsy Blog is filled with visuals and great ideas!

Monday, August 03, 2009

OK, now there are no excuses.
The boxes are empty and all of the important tools are unpacked
and in place (if I could only remember where).
So it is time to get to work.

I thought I would share with you a couple essential tools
that Tracy and I find helpful in our studio.

The first is a black board.
This is where we keep an on going list of all the current things needing attention.
If our schedule is crazy, it can be quite full.
We use it to keep our focus.
It helps us to stay on task
because we are constantly being drawn to some new creative idea
or off to something that needs to be taken care of at Artgirlz.

We even use them through out our homes.
Tracy has one in her kitchen that always has a loving reminder to focus on.
As you can see I have been worrying to much.

To make your own,
all you need is a wall and some black board paint.
You can find the paint in any hard ware store.
We like to use chalk pastels to write with because they offer such yummy colors.

The next tool is a felt wall.
I just installed mine last week.
I couldn't find old fashion paper gypsum board so I used ceiling tiles.
They were easier to install because they were smaller.
It is simple to do.
I just use dry wall screws and an electric drill to attach it to the studio wall.
I make sure I hit an occassional stud to give it strength and then
it is off to the fabric store to find felt to cover it. Look for felt that is 72" wide.

We use this felt wall to create on.
It is perfect for fabric projects because the fabric naturally sticks to the felt.
So you can put up different colors and textures
and stand back to get a better perspective.
Or paper projects
because it is now a giant bulletin board.
You can use pins to fill it full of things to inspire you.

Mine is filling up with a project I am doing for Bernina with my
aurora 440