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So excited: Michael deMeng workshops this weekend!

Something akin to a pre-Christmas miracle has occurred. I, along with a handful of my arty pals, am heading down to Colorado Springs this weekend for two Michael deMeng workshops. On Saturday, we’ll be making shrines and Sunday’s class is the famous Pez dispenser-altering class. It’s a little miracle because it’s affordable ($25 per class. No, I didn’t leave off a zero.) and there are enough of us going that the hotel rooms won’t cost a ton. I’m riding down with Lynn and we’ll meet up with Susan and Karen. I love taking workshops with my arty girls! Bonus — I get to see a couple of my Zoner friends and their offspring who all live down there.

So, I’m gathering my supplies and I find that it’s a daunting process. I don’t want to take too much, but I don’t want to be caught without something I’ll really need. When I take workshops in Fort Collins, it’s easy to dash home to grab something I really need (or call Tim to fetch it for me), but being three hours from my studio will be a challenge. So far, here’s the stuff I’m bringing. I believe the garden gnome that Dougie busted is going to be the central character in my shrine. I’m so glad I remembered him because he’s the perfect little dude to enshrine, don’t you think?


I don’t have a real plan. I’m just grabbing handfuls of screws, nails, rusty oddities, broken jewelry, pieces of glass, Scrabble tiles, little winged babies, tiny burned-out light bulbs and whatever else strikes my fancy as I go through my studio. It’s quite fun. I have always been a saver, and I have a lot of odd things that I’ve hoarded over the years, or that my grandma and mom have saved (and I have acquired), so when the shrine is completed, it will be an Ode to Those Who Save Things Because They Never Know, It Could Be Useful Later.

I’ll post to Flickr all weekend, snapping shots of whatever is in progress, so you can keep an eye on the madness that will surely ensue.

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WIP: Superpowers ACTIVATE!

I have a few coach-type folks that I follow. One is strictly for my web dev business, eeep! productions. One is for my creative processes in general. And one is Fabeku. Fabeku calls himself a suck exorcist and his podcasts are invaluable to me in my business. He cuts through the crap and, as Andie says, is “made of magic.”

Recently, I’ve been purchasing and listening to Fabeku’s “teletastics,” which are basically these calls where he knocks me on my ass and makes me rethink how I’m doing everything. Which is good. We like that. While I listened to two of them, “The Un-Secret Superhero Clinic” and “Unfuck Your Money Mojo,” I painted. I took random papers, some of which already had marks on them, and did the intuitive painting/markmaking thing. It was glorious. Below are photos of the dried pages, back and front (click to enlarge). I’m turning the pages into journal books and will post those photos when they are ready.

superpower pages - back

superpower pages – back

superpower pages - front

superpower pages – front

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This week I re-discovered gluebooks. If you’ve never heard of them, a gluebook is a book (with me?) that you glue things into.

What’s it for? you may be asking.

It’s for …wait for it… fun.

A gluebook might be a place where you stick all of the pretty pictures you cut out of magazines and don’t know what to do with them after that.

Or a place where you put cut out photos of your favorite dreamy actors.

It’s a book into which you glue stuff. Simple as that.

I used to do gluebooks stuff a long time ago. And I guess my Everyday Book journal is a sort of gluebook, when it comes right down to it. But I haven’t consciously worked in a gluebook for no reason for a very long time. The thing I love about gluebooks is that there is no pressure to create great work. And it can be a nice collage exercise. Or it can be nothing at all. Is there anything in life that creates less pressure than “nothing at all”?

Here’s a spread I did today in under a half an hour while I listened to inspiring Todd Henry podcasts:

"Blue" gluebook spread

gluebook spread

The theme was “blue.” I got the theme from the gluebooks group I just joined on Facebook. This group popped up in the sidebar on Facebook last week and it made me go “oh yeah, I love those!” and I joined the group without thinking.

I have made two rules for myself in working in this book (which is just your ordinary, run of the mill, every day composition book, btw):

  1. Don’t think. All I did was rummage through my box of images and pull out anything that was blue and turned me on. I did not spend a lot of time aching over the composition of the page either.
  2. Don’t spent more than 30 minutes on a spread. A spread is two facing pages. Therefore, if I did one page, I would only spend 15 minutes. This goes with the don’t think thing very nicely. You can express yourself in whatever way you need without spending a lot of time over how perfect (or imperfect) the page looks.

If this sounds like fun, grab a magazine you want to cut up (I like ripping out pages and images for later use while I watch tv in the evening), a glue stick, and a book to glue stuff into and GO! Go Glue Something. I’d love to see what you do!

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Ok, it’s official, I surrender!

Published on July 23, 2013 by in art and life

I will finally admit that I cannot do everything. (see mom? see what I did there?)

I haven’t been blogging enough lately for two reasons:

Today is the first day in a long time that I have an uninterrupted large chunk of time and it just happens to coincide with a pedicure appointment I made a month ago with an excellent salon in town. I’m thrilled to have the next 6 hours with only the dogs and the husband getting in my way and frankly, they know better by now. I will complete some billable work. I will go to the craft store. I will have pretty toes.


Walking into my studio to work after dropping the boy at Boys & Girls Club and the baby at her grandma’s house, I realized, “Oh my gosh, I surely can’t let Kelly Kilmer see my studio in this disastrous state!!” And that’s when I sat down at my desk, sighed, and said, “Ok, I can’t do it all. Or I can, but I can’t do it all well.”

First step is in admitting it.

Now for the recovery period.

<3 <3 <3

And here’s what’s currently on my worktable. I have a yen to cover a bunch of little birdhouses with lots of bright and sparkly crap, waterproof the hell out of them, and then put them up in our yard to see what happens. (Those knobs in the upper right corner will be painted and put on the dresser in the baby’s room. Eventually.)


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new venture: alwaysbcreating.com

Things have been busy around here. Still redoing the studio. Still building websites. Still have the foster kids. I suppose I should call all of that a win.

And as if that all wasn’t enough, I’ve begun a new venture: alwaysbcreating.com

Here’s what happened:

My local art pal, Lynn, recently set up her basement so that all of the local art girls could go and hang out, at least once a month, and make art together. Nothing formal. We just bring projects and hang out together while we work. We also bring snacks. It’s pretty fun!

alwaysbcreating.comWe all got to talking about bringing in art instructors and hosting them for weekend-long workshops, just like Christine of The Artists’ Nook used to do. I had been looking into starting a similar project of my own and thought I could organize the logistics and see how it goes. Around the same time, Kelly Kilmer and I talked about getting her back to the area to teach, especially because her classes that were scheduled last summer didn’t end up happening.

When all of the pieces come together like that, it’s a sign, so alwaysbecreating.com was born. Check it out, either on the website or on facebook, even if you’re not local. There will be something there for everyone as time goes by. Thanks for checking it out!


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in which I ruminate upon giving something scary a shot

First of all, no, I have no idea why I was up at 2 am writing this post. I thought I might get more work done while everybody is asleep and that I might sleep while everybody is awake tomorrow. I don’t know if any of this is wise, but Tim was ok with the burden it would place on him in yhe morning, so why not give it a try.

And that’s one of the things this post is about. Trying something even when you’re not sure it’s going to work out.

Now I want to share the two scary and creative things I’ve done in the past few months.

1. Became a foster mom.

I haven’t mentioned this topic here, because it’s my art blog, but it’s relevant to this post. Last year Tim and I  were certified by our county as foster parents. Never having been a parent before at all, this was a huge and scary step for me. (Not for Tim. He was good with it from the word go.) I have learned in the past two months, however, that motherhood requires large quantities of creativity. HUGE quantities.

I had no idea.

Can I shower, have breakfast and answer all of my client email before the baby wakes up? How do I take a sleeping baby in the car to pick up the 11-year-old at school and get home before the baby has a poop explosion or needs a bottle? How long can I listen to the boy yammer on about his plans for a birthday party we’re apparently throwing him this summer? How many times can I take him to McDonald’s for an after-school snack before I feel like an awful guardian? (The answers are: no, carefully and quickly, as long as I have to, and two.)

And so on.

But you know what I learned this week? I can do it. I AM doing it. And I am doing it pretty well, if I do say so myself. There may have been a couple of times I wanted to cry or give up, but in general, I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. And even though I haven’t made one bit of art in the past 3 weeks, I look forward to the challenges these kids bring into our lives.

I took the chance. I made the leap. I let these kids into my life. And it’s good.

And the other thing:

2. Participating in an art community tradition in my city.

A Safe Space to Land

Statement: Lately Tracey Kazimir-Cree has been experimenting more with color and texture and found objects, so she has been keeping her imagery simple — flowers, hearts, houses. The idea of home has become increasingly important as she and her husband became foster parents this year. Tracey states, “All of us, especially children, deserve A Safe Space to Land and a chance to be truly happy and loved.”
(Photo by Christina Gressianu. http://www.photocg.co/)

I’ve heard of the Masks at MOA for years and either was afraid, or kept missing the deadline, but this year, I finally got to participate. Basically, it’s a fundraiser for the art museum in which artists create masterpieces out of ceramic masks. The masks are then displayed in the museum for a month and the public bids on them throughout the exhibit. Some of the masks also sold during a Gala dinner, as well. All of the proceeds to towards the museum.

On First Friday last month, the museum was packed. I was so nervous…I enjoyed looking at all of the masks, but was so anxious to see my own piece displayed in a museum. I’d been in a gallery before, but a museum! That’s huge!

When we found mine, we saw that someone had bid on it. Not only that, but two someones had bid on it.

It was thrilling.

The exhibit is closing this week, so I went over there today to check on my mask one more time. More people had bid and the price was up to $95. I don’t know that I ever expected that!

I took a chance, made the leap, arted up the mask and put my work out there. And it turns out, I’m not the only one who loved my piece.

I can do anything, if I want it badly enough, but the point is in the trying. Even if it’s scary. The point is in pushing myself to see just what I’m capable of. You can do that too. Even if you’re scared.

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Journal Pages: Alien, This is Playtime

The night before last, my pal Andie and I spent over four hours in my studio, drinking wine, trying out myriad art supplies, and generally having a good time. We had no plans, we just mucked about. I pulled out some random stamps, stencil-type things, chalk inks, Caran D’Ache crayons, glitter pens, gel watercolor crayons, sharpie poster paint pens, a couple of paper punches, a glue pen and foil. I had started the alien figure last week and have been randomly adding to it/her/him and decided that the pages around it/her/him needed some action. Here’s the result:


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Work in Progress: Pretty Lady

Look who I found in a painting I’ve been working on lately!


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“Are you going to axe murder us?”


The scary (and beautiful) axe murderer building, as seen on Google maps.

…that’s what I should have said. And thus begins the story of Kat and Tracey’s Big Adventure.

Today, I rode down to Denver with the lovely and talented Kat Peters-Midland so she could look at a vintage door she was interested in purchasing. She thinks it would make a great display for her fused glass pendants and other glass items at one of the stores where she consigns currently. I didn’t know why she didn’t want to drive alone to Denver, but heck, why not go along for the ride and have some good quality time with my pal.

We finally found the spot, an old brick building in an industrial area near the National Western arena (I think that’s what it’s called) — where they have the stock show. The fellow we were to meet, Tom, was waiting outside for us. We followed him into the building where we were greeted with the oddest collection of…. JUNK. Not just junk junk, though. Really cool old junk like a huge glass and oak display cabinet, an old wooden croquet set, a HUGE filthy fish tank (complete with lethargic fish), an old iron stove, and so on. In between the amazing stuff, there were boxes and piles of other stuff that I could have spent weeks looking through. The wood molding, banisters, hardwood floors, windows, and other aspects of the building were amazing and gorgeous. He showed us old confessional doors and other random doors to see if she’d be interested in those, as well.

And then we went down into the basement and I realized why Kat wanted me to go with her.

At the bottom of the basement stairs, there was an iron gate and all I could do was think of the tons of crime dramas, procedurals, and movies I have watched over the years. I was convinced this guy was going to slam that gate behind us and we’d never be seen again…until I saw that the gate was wedged behind a ton of stuff and hadn’t been moved in a while. Phew. Also, it took Tom a while to turn on the lights. yeesh.

Eventually there was light and the basement was full of more treasures. Old refrigerator, black cat (really.), old style enameled kitchen sink/counter (and toilet installed right next to it right out in the open), shelving, more doors, bicycles, wrought iron, and so on. We looked at the door, which was gorgeous, and bought it. Tom also pointed out that the building was so old that the columns were all cement and the exterior walls were so thick that you can’t hear any noise from the outside. (blinkblink)

The guy was nice, but I was glad to be back outside. We hightailed it out of there, while admiring the outside of the building, HOWEVER…

…We got stuck in some deep-ish snow that hadn’t melted in his parking lot. After we spun our wheels for a while, I got out and pushed, which was pretty funny because I am a dork. So dorky, that at some point, I slipped and fell in the snow. Eventually we had to ask Tom to come back out and help us. He said, “I didn’t even know you were still here — I didn’t hear you!” Yes, Tom and his thick cement walls…Yikes!

He helped push and tow until we got out and then we REALLY hightailed it out of there! We laughed and laughed and were just freaked out by the whole experience. We stopped at McDonald’s a couple of blocks away to use the bathroom and get a drink and discussed how neither of us thought to take photos of the insides. It was just so gorgeous, it would have been nice to have photos. We laughed about going back and asking to take photos inside — NOT! But we did think we should go back and take a photo of the exterior for a project we’re working on. We did, and it was worth it, but we really left after that.

Later, at lunch, we both realized we were feeling weird. Super trippy and out of it. She thinks that we hadn’t come down yet from the adrenaline rush we both had had that morning. At one point, I got up to use the rest room and everything ached. I said, “Why am I so sore?” and she said, “Because you were pushing a truck and fell into the snow!”

(And I met a potential axe murderer.)

Would you believe I didn’t even get a photo of the door today? I am sure Kat will share one on her blog at some point, so go check it out!

As I finished this post and went to get the photos off my phone for uploading, I found that they had all mysteriously disappeared…

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Ribbon and fiber storage solution (?)

Recently I have been scouring Pinterest for interesting ways to store my ribbons and fibers so that they are more easily accessible while I’m working in the studio. Up until yesterday, mostly all of my collection was in a big plastic tub, jumbled together in a big mess of fiber-y goodness.

Here are some of the cool ideas I’ve pinned.

And here is what I’ve got going on right now in my studio:

ribbon and fiber storage


All of the spools are threaded onto cord, which is hung on cup hooks attached to the ceiling. Right now, the ends of the cord are tied into loops, which I hook onto the cup hooks. I do need to come up with a better solution than tying and untying those loops that will also allow me to still thread new spools onto the cord. I’m still working that one out.

Then I placed all of the loose scraps of yarn and ribbons in these two decorative birdcages where I can see everything and pull pieces out as I need them. Any pieces that were long enough are wrapped on cards and in a drawer. I also tried wrapping some around old-fashioned clothespins, and they are in a sterlite box, which is handy for taking upstairs, or to my art group. I also have a lot of scraps that are sorted by color group and stored in clear AMAC boxes, but I find them annoying to access quickly. I will probably put all of those scraps into the birdcages, too.

So that’s my big exciting project this week! My mission is to eventually stop storing my supplies on the floor. It’s good to have goals in life.

Input? Suggestions? Let’s see your ribbon and fiber storage!

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