Blocking Knits eBook Progress:

Blocking knits shawl in progress

The goal is to have an ebook on blocking your knits available by November the 7th, 2017. All swatches are made, and a rough draft created. As some of you might recall, I initially started this ebook about a year ago. Life and other priorities caused it to be put on the back burner, so I am anxious to get it completed and up on the site ASAP.

Of course, I need a full-size shawl to also block as an example. It’s October, our local school district colors are orange and black, so it’s not difficult to guess the color of yarn I chose to use.

Artist Alley 2017

The passing of September here in southeast Kansas also means that we JUST enjoyed Artist Alley in Chanute, Kansas. I can’t help but also include a few images of some of my favorite pieces and a short video.

http://www.humemarbleco.com

Dew Baskets on Facebook

BTW by purchasing a local artist work, I was able to publically say: “He’ll be dropping my pot off later,” and not worry a person in uniform would show up at my Kansas doorstep. I should also note that living in a small town has its perks: I can plot a murder mystery while out to dinner together with hubby, and know that if anyone overhears me, they would not be concerned for someone’s safety.

Bob Cross on Facebook

Road to Disovery

A task of discovery

I am usually a very analytical minded person. So, I make lists and plan. This weekend I am off four days in a row from my day job. Instead of checking things off my to-do list I am hiding out in my office and writing as much as I can. I am working on a novel. It is semi-autobiographical, and I can’t tell you what it is about exactly. Because well I am not sure I know. I started it over ten years ago and at the moment I going back through all my notes to deepen what I already began.

I am usually a very analytical minded person. So, I make lists and plan. This weekend I am off four days in a row from my day job. Instead of checking things off my to-do list I am hiding out in my office and writing as much as I can. I am working on a novel. It is semi-autobiographical, and I can’t tell you what it is about exactly. Because well I am not sure I know. I started it over ten years ago, and at the moment I am going back through all my notes to deepen what I had.

I want a good solid draft from beginning to end, so I don’t have a deadline at the moment. Right now I am relishing the freedom to see where it takes me and enjoying the challenge.

For those that do not know me personally, I see myself as very socially awkward. I am much more at home in front of a project, alone. Even marketing is taking a back seat for now.

Knitting?

For right now I am only working on knitting projects that for me to work on while thinking. So charted, or more challenging projects are not a priority. Garter stitch is truly my friend. Expect to see some basic shawls and scarfs by the end of the year.

Other projects?

In the last few days, I dug out all of my older nonfiction ebooks. The ones I have been saying need rewritten for several years now? I have each one ready to proof and comb through. The analytical side of me has time set aside for just that type of work. But for today….I am relishing in the process of discovery.

 

The goal this weekend was to spring clean my side hustle. I watched a video by Secret Blogger, suggesting every so often we need to dig in and get those necessary mundane tasks completed. Doing so will help our workflow better the rest of the year. Labor Day is the perfect time to do this since I want to dive back into this thing head first

side hustle

I work a part-time day job elsewhere, and my work schedule there changes when we go to Winter hours. I know, it’s Kansas, Labor Day, and not Winter, but that’s what we call it. (Summer/Winter)

So anyway, I decided to use her tips as a guide as to what to accomplish this weekend.

To paraphrase:

  • Physically declutter the workspace. File everything that needs to be presented, clean EVERYTHING off the actual desktop and clean up the digital files on your computer. Then decide if your space need a lift. Does it need a new plant? Does it need Inspirational quotes, etc…

Mine could need all of the above. The wine helped. Don’t judge.

  • Clean up your routine and systematize two or three tasks. Create checklist(s), for each task.

Working on those items, I feel better just knowing, I now know for sure what I need to systematize.

  • Spring clean business commitments. Get rid of tasks you realllllyyy don’t want to do, or that just don’t serve you.

This one was easy. I have gotten very good at saying “No.” It has taken me a lot of years. No need to explain why I can’t.

Just, “No.”

Next!

  • Spring clean those little business tasks that you need to finish that you keep putting off for another day.

That day is today. Sort through those papers, make those phone calls, and FIND that phone number you need to complete that task.

My goal is to have these spring cleaning business tasks done by the end of the day. I can then start the week hitting the ground running. BTW this blog post was one of those things I needed to complete.

Side hustleOn another note:

I have wanted to find somewhere I can locally take my laptop and get work done, outside of the house. Monday’s and Tuesdays are the tricky days. As much as I love my hubby, his schedule has him home those days, and I find I get less done when he is home.

This is one reason why I am SOOO happy to see a new pizza restaurant open on the local town square. It is within walking distance, reasonably priced, and the hours they are open work perfect for me. I live in a town of less than 2K, so when the Public Library is not open, my options are limited.

We must have gotten there today before the other locals discovered it was open. An hour later most all tables were full.

So, the unofficial fall has begun. Let’s kick its booty!

Blacksmithing Art How To

Why blacksmiths? If you had a weekend to learn anything creative, what would you want to learn?

I asked this question on our Facebook group a few months back and was surprised by the answers. I assumed, and wrongly that most people would put “drawing,” “painting,” “knitting,””and so forth. But no, what I saw were things like “blacksmith,” “glass blowing,” and “welding”. Things that I have been curious about but haven’t pursued.

I decided to begin a search, to find these people in our area of the country. The ones that use materials not always associated with the arts.

This past weekend such an opportunity dropped right into my lap. A group of blacksmiths was doing a demonstration in my small community of Humboldt, KS. Because I needed to work my day job, my husband was kind enough to take some images and video for me. Admittedly, it took some coaxing to convince him to take time out of his day off, to take a few pics of the demo. When stating my case, I told him it wouldn’t take more than “thirty minutes to an hour tops!”. It wound up becoming more like a couple of hours. Not because they were slow, or he was pokey. It was that he simply found watching them incredibly exciting.

As the opportunities arise, I will share images and videos of other topics that people said they would like to see. If you know of any glassblowers, weavers, bookmakers, etc.. in the area, please drop me a line through this webpage, social media, or just email.

To start things off, I would like to share with you a few images from Saturday afternoon with the “Free State Blacksmith Club”. https://www.facebook.com/freestateblacksmithclub

Blacksmiths Art How To

Artist How To Blacksmithing

Artist How To Blacksmithing

Today was spent boxing up all the work that is ready for a show that will be hung Monday. I also updated inventory lists and made sure marketing materials are up to date.  There are still three paintings I could not pack up as they are still drying in some fashion. But they will be ready to go and walk out the door by Monday.

Below are two items that will be included.

16X20" Oil on canvas

16X20″ Oil on canvas

9X12" oil on canvas

9X12″ oil on canvas

So the big question now, what is next?

  • Well hopefully I will have some sales (or LOTS!) at the exhibit, perhaps line up some more commission pieces?
  • Then to line up more exhibits over the next year. There are some small galleries in the area I have not shone in for years so perhaps at least one will be on the agenda.
  • I now have ties in Wichita so I need to look that direction for possible opportunities. I keep thinking KC also, but Wichita is calling me.
  • I also need to have reproductions made: Something else I have not looked into for years.
  • Finish writing that book, the one that I now have a multitude of notes on from research!

But for now, I need to get this studio back into shape. Every surface in here is covered with books, photos, notes and painting supplies. Then I want to just sit down and knit for a few days, without interruption. To clear my head and further challenge the analytical part of my brain…..while eating chocolate. Who knows maybe I will design a thing or two while I am at it. :0)

Paint Palette Artist Needs

1. Time – To relax, dream and breath a creative flow.

2. Security – This can either work for you, or against you. Too much security and you may get lazy and not produce work. Not enough and you may be tempted/forced to focus on things besides your art.

3. Tools – No matter what you do you need some sort of tool, even if it is your finger.  If money is really tight and you can not got your hands on the ideal items, we can learn to use what is available to us, if it is important to us.

4. Space – Even the space between our ears. Perhaps most important the space between our ears! If you can have a physical space to work this shows a priority both mentally and physically.

5. Drive to Create – You HAVE to want it as an outlet and/or as a business need. It is difficult enough to be a creative individual in the world, without a drive to create….forget about it.

6. Discipline – There are a lot of things to juggle when you are an artist: your time, priorities, finances, marketing to name just a few.

7. Passion – An indescribable love of what you do.

8. Support – You need people in your corner, even if it is only the voice in your head.

9. Ongoing Education – You must continue to challenge yourself in order to grow.

10. Guts – (chutzpah) Take the road less traveled and not produce more of the same takes an inner spark.  Some days more than others….

Pros of a day job for artists

The reality is most artist work a day-job of one kind or another. Finances, time management and self expression require continual juggling. The myth of the artist working as he or she chooses, not needing to concern themselves with finances and always staying creatively challenged, is difficult in reality.

In the next two posts I will explore the pros and cons faced by artists in having a day-job. First let’s look at the pros:

  1. Schedule – Working around a day-job schedule forces you to focus in on what is most important in your art. You tend to waste less time on things that do not matter to the big picture.
  2. Inspiration – The people and events that you are a part of give inspiration you would not otherwise have. The fact is if you work with the public much you will find yourself often saying, “You just can NOT make this stuff up!”.
  3. Interaction – Working as an artist can be a solitary act. Working a day-job forces you to interact face-to-face with other breathing humans.
  4. Equipment – If you are fortunate you will have equipment openly available to you that you could not afford on your own.
  5. Financial Freedom – When you do not need to worry about a roof over your head because the day-job finances it, you feel freer to explore your creative options. That less than desirable commission can be turned down in favor of pursuing your own projects.
  6. Benefits – Insurance, vacation, sick leave and paid training can be difficult to come by when you work exclusively on your art. If you work it right you can use this paid time to your advantage.

To have a day-job can be a tough personal choice, one that needs to be weighed by an individuals situation. Next we will explore the cons.

 

So supposedly the ideal image to have on Pinterest for marketing is vertical.  It helps to gain more exposure due to the layout. But HOW do you go about making one fast and inexpensive?

I have Photoshop and Gimp, both of which can do pretty amazing things.  But I prefer to use PicMonkey these days for quick edits that do not require more complicated results.

Pinterest How-to VerticalLooking at JUST creating the layout that is necessary, lets get started!

  1. First you need the images you want to include in the collage.  It is a good idea to have them where you can easily locate them, such as on a folder in the desktop, or on a jump-drive.
  2. Go to Picmonkey.com and click on Create a Collage, click Open Photos and add the ones you want to include.
  3. Go down to the icon below Create a Collage, choose Biggie Smalls with the largest number of squares on the right. You can easily change the number of whichever one you choose, but for ease of starting lets stick with that has the most.
  4. Click Open and drop and drag the images where you want them. If you want to add text in an open space keep that in mind and do not place images in each one. (To remove a square go to that square and click on the X to delete.  To add drop and drag you image to the space between the squares)
  5. Save the image by hitting Save, then Save Photo – Again in an place that you can easily locate.
  6. Close the project by hitting the X in the upper right hand side of the PicMonkey work area. Not the browser “X”
  7. Open PicMonkey again and this time click on Edit a Photo and open the collage you just made.
  8. Click on Crop and adjust to create the shape you desire, click on Apply.
  9. Add any text by clicking on the P, choose the desired font and click on Add Text. A text Box will appear on the screen. Make necessary adjustments in the size of the font and location of the text box.
  10. Hit Save, then Save Photo again to your desired location.

TA-DAH!  Now you can upload the image you just made to your Blog or Pinterest.

In an attempt to get to know the readers better, let me fill you in a bit about myself.

  1. I turn fifty this year. I am actually looking forward to it. Life should be fun. As Huey Lewis said: “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!”
  2. I have two grown daughters and four and a half grandchildren. The half being a new grandson due in Sept.
  3. I am not domestic.  So the chances of seeing any recipe posted by me is slim to none.
  4. I read a great deal, mostly nonfiction. I am a sucker for anything new on business, blogging, writing, or autism.
  5. I am on a continual quest for the perfect office/studio organizing system.  See eBook “Controlling Creative Clutter”.
  6. My office is in a small home I share with my husband, two dogs and a cat. I dream of having a rustic historic building found in most all of rural America.
  7. I am VERY introverted.  I need time alone in order to function well. So the item #6 is not practical in that it would most likely require me to be available to the public.
  8. I don’t eat as well as I should, nor do I often exercise on purpose. I tell myself I will get back to running. But sitting in front of the computer, easel or with a book almost always wins out.

So there you have it: A fifty year old out of shape hermit that paints, writes and blogs. And I am sure some would say a twisted sense of humor. It will surly rear its head before long!

 

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