A Quest For Focus


** My Paradise

Called Home **

On Track...and Have Proof!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Just popping in to show my progress - yes, I really am making progress in the studio! I have nearly every flat surface cleared and somewhat organized. All that's left is a book case that holds my paper and my computer desk (which is almost done!)

I have a huge box that needs to go outside to be burned since it has a lot of personal information and there's just too much to shred. I am now free of stacks of paper and general junk. YAY for me.
PS I had to cut down some 22"x30" watercolor paper today and I did it without a table space issue. This feels so good - why I am not more diligent in keeping it this way I will never know. It just may be a mess again in a short while but I do have pictures to prove it really was nice at the beginning of the year!

This is probably the third song  in the past several months I've hunted down because I heard bits on a television commercial - this one has me miffed though...iTunes doesn't have it so I couldn't download it. Boo.

Somebody left the gate open...........at the Shores

Winding Down? NAHHH

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 is on it's way out. I've bound my way through another crazy Christmas full of travel and custom orders and am finally home from Georgia for the second time in a month. So I can't for the life of me figure out why I am still in the weeds. I was pondering what has still yet to be done and the list is long, all of which are book orders that were not for Christmas so I was able to put them off until after the holidays. I also have a sewing project that I should have had done before I left but that too is unfinished (more on that in my next post when it finally IS done.)
I've decided that there will be no new years resolution but I DO want to start 2012 with clean work tables. I have one 8ft table, one 4ft table along with a drafting table and have a total of at best an 18"x24" clear space to work on - that's it. Rather pathetic really. No matter what, this will be done this week....at some point!

Some of my custom orders for Christmas. For the rocker   I cut a stencil of  The Who band logo  and spraypainted it over some Union Jack fabric - love the binding on it!

Then we have another stenciled cover. Yes, it's Davy Jones. I agreed to do this in spite of risking losing my rock n roller card ; )
The next is for an avid fisherman (also my pastor). This is the second year in a row his wife ordered one from me to give to him. She swiped one of his handmade fishing flys (sp?) and I put it under acetate window on the cover
The Dylan, Lennon and Waits stenciled books all sold so I think I'll replace them in my shops soon. I'll only make 3 per stencil before I retire each one, the background lyrics and bindings will all be different so technically they are/will be OOAK.

This one is for Tom, who 9 years ago on New Years Eve in Las Vegas became my husband.

Today and every day..................at the Shores

Stencil Fun

Saturday, December 10, 2011

So, a while back a friend and I took an online 'stencilry' class and I have been revisiting what I learned for my new Artists and Musicians series of books. The first two I wrote about in my previous post. Tom Waits has since sold and now resides in Dallas. On Dec. 8th I listed my John Lennon, the reason I know it was the 8th? Because it was the anniversary of his assassination at age 40. I always wonder how his life would have played out, he would have been 71 this year I believe. The second is Dali, I happened across a photo (circa 1954) and knew it would be a fun stencil to cut not to mention it would look like he's peeking around the bookcover - and it was such a typical look for him.

I did get the 15 mini journals (4.5"x5.5") finished and shipped off to Pennsylvania. It was a lovely box of color.
I bound them all the same. I had to if I wanted them done any time soon!

The weather is still odd for this time of the year. Normally by now we have a couple foot of snow on the ground but up until the day before yesterday it was just rain. The past 2 days we've had snow but not enough to stick around....sort of creepy, either we are going to have less than normal snow or we are about to get pounded.

A little Lennon for ya........

She got to be herself..............at the Shores

Happy December!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Where have I been you ask? Well, anyone who has ever read this blog knows I often go MIA. I just got back from Georgia, my family lives there and normally drive the 12 hours for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The weather was fantastic I must say, the first 2 days it was in the 80's then went down to the 70's - I miss the southern climate, I am so not a northern sort of gal...the hotter the better is my motto.

November was a fantastic month for business with 28 books sold. One of my customers (and dear friend) suggested that I add some books more guy friendly. I had to think hard just how I was going to do that and not lose "me" in the process. Fabric that is more masculine is somewhat boring I think so being the art and music fanatic that I am I decided to cut some stencils of some of my favorite artists and musicians and spraypaint them on the covers - I added song lyrics to the fabric background. I've finished two, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, I have a John Lennon waiting to be bound but has to be put on hold for some custom orders that have come in.

I am working on an order of 15 mini journals - I must say, they are just about as much work as the full size ones, they're really cute though. Quite a generous Santa I must say! I've got the covers done so far, my only stipulation was that I wasn't going to make 15 identical books, she was more than happy to let me have my way:

Another fun book I have done since my last post is for the cat lover, personally I am a dog lover but all the cool fabric seems to be geared toward the feline fan! It's a larger art journal:
"Meowsterpieces" can be found here
This is the tune I used as the background on the Tom Waits book

 And the early dawn cracks out a carpet of diamond.......at the Shores

Handmade is Where It's AT!

Monday, November 14, 2011

We got snow last Friday to commemorate 11-11-11. It was only about 2 inches and has long since melted - mother nature teasing us I suppose! Now it rains.
Still heavy at work in trying to get inventory into my shops in time for the holidays, here are some new ones:
Echoing Eyes, a gorgeous peacock feather print - lined and unlined pages (click to view listing)

Bright Lights, Big City - also lined and unlined pages (click to view listing)

Maiden's Hair Gift a larger art journal (click to view listing)
I link to my Etsy shop only because the photos there are a bit larger but always prefer selling out of my shop on Handmade Artists' Forum. I love everything they stand for. My hope is that one day it will be more popular to shop at than Etsy...it's a shame the direction they've taken on that site. If you're a seller there you might know what I'm talking about.

Speaking of Handmade Artists' Forum, they have just unveiled a new feature to vendors - a bit of a window shop to add on your site.Cool, eh? I like it!

My choice today is Bright Lights by Matchbox Twenty - get the connection? ;o)
You'll find something that's enough to keep you.........at the Shores

A Laugh at Time

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Is it just me or do you just get up an hour earlier when the time changes to fall back? Here I am, awake at 4:30am today...not that I am normally up at 5:30 but I went to bed earlier too - I feel as though this will be one long day!

So, I previously posted that my mom has a new online shop on Etsy, it took her 6 days for her first sale, I'm super happy for her - it took me 2.5 weeks to make one and then the first two were to out of state friends of mine! I hope she does well, especially since I was the one prodding her in to this venture!

I have a couple new books. Surprised? I doubt it. The first photo is of a matching set, one 8" x 10" and a small 4" x 8". I've used this fabric before on a custom order so this will be the last in using it. I think they'd make a great gift - we'll see.

Gothic Harmony (click to view listing)

Field Sparks (click to view listing)
Seems as though my husband and I will be joining the gym. I think he has reached his "I've had enough of this" when last weekend he asked me to pick a dress shirt out of his closet for him, I then saw as we were leaving that he didn't have it on, I asked why, he said it was BBB - "well, what the heck is BBB" I asked , he said it meant "before big belly". I love that he's ready to join me in some exercise, we'll just join for a few months and see if he sticks to it!

I have slacked on posting links to my friends on the On Fire for Handmade team so if all goes right I'll post a one or two every day until I catch up. These two are also teammates from the Handmade Artists' Forum:

This week's Featured Artisan is Sarah - Finding Charm! Sarah has
beautiful creations in a wide variety of styles and colors! You can
find Finding Charm on:

This week's Featured Artisan is Sandi Levy - I Knit Quilt Sew!
Sandy has delightful creations in here shop. Something for everyone!
You can find I Knit Quilt Sew on:

Remember this song? The video of Jim Croce and his son gets me a little misty-eyed. Not sure how long before his death this was filmed...pretty song.

If I could save time in a bottle...................at the Shores

Eyes, Books, Bags and Superheros

Thursday, November 03, 2011

What a nice start to November! I not only feel tip top but I had my follow-up appointment for more glaucoma testing on my eyes. After re-testing my eye pressure and some peripheral vision tests it looks as though there is no need to begin treatment on my eyes yet, I go back in a year to do it all over again. What a wonderful feeling!

I, as I do every year, did Halloween costumes for two of my grandkids, and as always it was a blast!
Wolverine & The Incredible Hulk
Of course I have a couple new books made:
Land of Whispers (SOLD)
Wings of Scarlet (click to view listing)

Frozen Time (click to view listing)
I've also spent the past two days setting up my mother's shop "Knit So Ordinary, Handmade Bags" - she makes very cool market/tote bags (I don't say this just because she's my mom either). I have one that I love, they stretch to hold a lot! She does custom orders too if you have a favorite color or maybe the colors of your Alma Mater (is that supposed to be capitalized?). Have a visit : )
Love this song & lyrics...there are versions of it that can go over 20 minutes but I'll keep it short here! Pretty photos too

Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own.......at the Shores

Baby It's COLD Outside!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It seems as though fall has come and gone and winter wants in! I haven't wanted to turn on the house furnace yet so I've been dragging around space heaters to warm the rooms I'm in - anyone in the south have a room to rent for me, I'm no trouble....really!
I am down to 2 custom orders. YAY me! here are a couple I've finished lately:

LOVE this one

The person that got the chandelier in the previous post below is the owner of these two, they're Christmas gifts. I love finding out about the intended recipients then searching for the perfect fabric for each - great fun! Only 2 more before I'm caught up :o)

I think I'll take a small break this afternoon and do a little painting...need to warm up first, it's rather hard to paint while your hands are shaking from the cold!

No relevance to the post, just a song I like!

Look at me dancing for you.......at the Shores

Save the Eyes!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm finally back to posting and feeling a lot better, now if I stay out of the germ filled city I should be good to go for the rest of the year (knock on wood)!
I went to the eye doctor last week for just a regular exam and to get a new pair of glasses and after what I thought was pretty much the regular once-over I got the news that they believe I have the onset of glaucoma, yes, I was freaked - I've always said I could pretty much do without a lot but as an artist my eyesight was non-negotiable. So, of course I hit the internet once I got home...probably not the best idea I've ever had, now I think I know too much but I did read that glaucoma is very treatable. Grateful for that. They'll do further testing in a couple weeks. We'll see.
I have a few new books here:
A second and final PopTart custom order  - I've retired the design

Someone ordered  a chandelier themed book...a chandelier themed book is what I made, you can't tell  from the photo, but it sparkles!

New listing in my shops "One Man's Trash"

A sassy tune by Adele

Don't underestimate the things that I will do...........at the Shores


Saturday, October 08, 2011

GoodNESS, I've managed to get yet another awful cold. I don't think this has ever happened in my lifetime. Have a cold for 3 weeks - better for one - then sick again. Really?!?!?
Anyway, I did want to share the featured artisan from the On Fire For Handmade team before I completely miss posting and the next pops up!
This Weeks Featured Artisan is Frann Ramales - Armored Hearts!
Beautiful chainmail creations and more! You can find
Armored Hearts on:
My favorite is a chainmaille bracelet . Have you ever felt a nicely done wider piece of chainmaille? It is fabulous, almost fabric like.
Congrats, Frann :o)

Going to go enjoy one of the last beautiful days before the snow flies! Here's one just for fun...ever see the Sorcerers Apprentice? This was in it....

It's like we're chasing all those stars.........at the Shores

Custom Orders?

Monday, September 26, 2011

A few days ago someone inquired about a custom order and after a couple messages back and forth regarding what exactly they wanted  they decided to go ahead and have one made. I couldn't shake an uneasy feeling I kept having so in my last message I stated that I require half down - I've heard nothing since. Normally unless it is personalized I pretty much will do it with nothing down (or unless I just don't like what was chosen) because I'll just pop it in my shops for sale, while this hasn't happened yet that's my thought on the matter. Anyway, I was wondering just what your experiences with custom orders are. Do you require a deposit? Payment in full? Have you ever gotten burned? Leave me a comment!
I've gotten several new books bound using the ream of 90# watercolor paper I purchased

Unfamiliar Occasion (Click for more pictures)
A Visual Affair (Click for more pictures)
Charming Certainty (Click for more pictures)
Tuned Hope (Click for more pictures)

The clickable links go to my Etsy shop only because the photos are nicer there. I'd MUCH more prefer to sell out of my HAFshop as they don't take a commission unlike Etsy! ;o)
And the 3 below are custom orders

So, there will not be a On Fire For Handmade artisan to share here this week. Why? You ask (or maybe you're not, but humor me here!) Because I am that featured artist! If you have a shop you really should consider joining the group, my books have been in 5 Etsy treasuries over the past 2 days, not to mention my item view count has gone WAY up, we're on Facebook too. Plus, Anne who runs the group tirelessly promotes the group like crazy! Her shop by the way is here, lovely scarves, wraps and more!

Closing this long winded post with Bon Iver

I'll be holding all the tickets..............at the Shores

Bumpy Ride?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Busy week...well, I guess they are always busy if I want them to be. It just may be a bumpy ride in to the holidays. I just got 5 more book orders, 2 similar to the one below, 4 are for Christmas gifts. I had a go with making a slipcase that locks as the customer didn't want the lock on the book but did want to be able to lock it....never to be stumped, this is what I came up with. The slipcase was all black and looked a little bare so I cut out some of the skulls and a rose from the fabric I covered the book in and adhered them to the front. I love it! I posted this on my Facebook page and two more were ordered. I guess the skulls and roses is a popular theme. That will be it for this fabric since I only do a max of 3 (different bindings) from any one material.
I have 3 to get finished by tomorrow evening.

Have you ever stopped by Steamy Kitchen? Jaden Hair's blog is great, she's a funny gal to be sure, her recipes are awesome and the BEST giveaways can be found there..one of these days I'm going to win something I just know it! 

This week from On Fire For Handmade teammate is Flower and Bud:
This weeks Featured Artisan is Debbi La Rue - Flower & Bud Handcrafted Jewelry!
You can find Flower & Bud on:
LOTS of cool pieces there - have a look won't you?

This song reminds me of my late mother-in-law. The two of us were going to dinner one night and this was playing on the car radio...I can still hear her humming in the passenger seat next to me. Makes me smile.
Thinking of you, Ma........at the Shores

On This Harvest Moon

Monday, September 12, 2011

The moon is enormous tonight, it's a beautiful harvest moon, I hope you didn't miss it.

I've been canning the past few days, I have zucchini pickles, banana peppers, pickled green beans (awesome in a bloody mary!), a bunch of escabeche - no cauliflower but it does have jalapenos, carrots, garlic and onions - some salsa and lastly, tomatoes. It's not a ton but a decent start, there is plenty yet to come out of the garden 

yet.......as long as it doesn't turn cold too soon!
I've got another 6 custom orders for books (I seem to run in 6's). I was sort of hoping to continue to add to my shops but I suppose this is even better considering they are SOLD!

I did get one using watercolor paper done today for the shops, I really love the fabric and the leaf skeletons I glazed over and added to the front jazzes it up nicely - it's one of my favorites.

Here is this weeks artisan from the On Fire For Handmade group
This weeks Featured Artisan is Sharri Powell - Moss and Mist! Gorgeous creations created with love.
You can find Moss and Mist on:
The wirework rings are absolutely beautiful, normally I'd link to a favorite but no can do this time - there are too many! Have a look and see if you agree!

There's no better song for this lovely night but this one...
And the moon is climbing high.........at the Shores

Getting Better

Thursday, September 08, 2011

I think today is the day my cold is taking a turn for the better, 11 days is a long time. I don't normally get sick living out in such a rural area but there are two places I will catch something if there's something to be caught, one, a visit to the city and two, on an airplane, both are swarming with cooties!

 I did get another book finished. It has lined pages and a very cool purple and orange batik - it has been ribbon bound. I like doing ribbon bound books, it gives the new owner the option of ordering refills. You can see it in either shop, I prefer selling through my HAFshop because it's a newer venue and I really love that they are so vigilant about their handmade only policy, you don't have to fight the resellers that go under the radar on other sites.

This Weeks Featured Artisan is Vaudeville Gypsy. Truly Unique Creations
to tickle your fancy! You can find Vaudeville Gypsy on:

She's got some cool Vaudeville gypsy costume, accessories & jewelry!

I'm breaking out some Suzanne Vega...it's been a long time since I've played any of her music.

You will hear yourself in a song...........at the Shores


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Just when I thought I was gaining momentum on the production side of things I get sick. It's been 9 days and I feel no better than when it first came over me. Ick.

Just before my ick I did a scavenger hunt of sorts (which is probably where I GOT the ick) with my step daughter, her husband and a couple of their friends in Cleveland. It was lots of fun running all over the city trying to decipher the clues given us and taking pictures of the answers, we all had to be in each picture too so a lot of strangers were stopped to help! There were almost 475 people entered, about 125 teams. The first team in took only 45 minutes to get it done....amazing really...it took us twice as long!
Here we are at the finish line...after getting a refreshment of course ;o)

The book above is another journal using more fair trade fabric from Mali, West Africa. 

Lastly, I did a mini 4" x 8" sketchbook using a batik.
I was contacted last night through Etsy asking if I would consider placing a dozen books in a shop on commission. I really hate the idea of putting anything out there on commission, I've heard too many horror stories I think. Has anyone ever had a good experience doing this? If so please drop me a line or leave a comment. My knee-jerk reaction is to just say thanks, but no thanks.

This is just because....

There's mountains to climb........at the Shores

Globetrotting...Sort Of

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I am doing much better in the book production end this week, three books, three days, I can actually get more done in a day but I have an issue with focusing my attention as you may have noticed from the title of this blog. I have two from the same cut of fabric, I've done one before with the woman with dark hair this time I did both that were on the material and I'm offering 10% off if a reader wanted to purchase them both as a set (excluding shipping costs), just put them both in your shopping cart and use the coupon code ASIANSET at checkout. I do ship internationally, but since the charges vary so much with the weight of books in general - just contact me and I can get exact charges to ship.
They are both buttonhole bound and each contain 160 pages of 90# watercolor paper and can be found here 

Another one I have finished is done with a fabric from FabricLovers. It is 100% authentic African fabric made in Mali, West Africa, I love that it is a fair trade fabric and directly helps the village in which it was made.
Can you see the tribal masks? From Japan to Africa I've been.....sort of ;o)

Lastly, it's time again that I share a link from the On Fire For Handmade team. This week it is 
Il Mare Atelier,   she makes some very pretty jewelry - my personal favorite is this bracelet, see the tiny flowers in the pendant? Lovely!

This week's Featured Artisan is Suftan - Il Mare Atelier! Perfect addition to any wardrobe and great gifts too!
You can find Il Mare Atelier on: 

No relevance for the music, just like both Angela McCluskey AND Deep Forest, so together it's a bonus!

I'll be ready.........at the Shores

Progress, Beautiful Progress

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I've managed to get two more custom orders completed! I am encouraged and I no longer feel as though I am trying to dig a ditch with a spoon anymore......for now anyway.
Above is a 13.5" x 11" fabric covered baby book for mementos, stories, photo's etc. - there are about 112 pages if I did the math right! SUPER cute.
The second book pictured is a personalized journal with lined pages.

I am also going to share another link from the On Fire For Handmade team. 
This weeks featured artisan is Rebecca - Rebecca's Whims! Whimsically beautiful creations in her shop! Perfect gifts for all ages! You can find Rebecca's Whims on:

I am in love with Rebecca's Whims moth necklaces - just gorgeous! Have a peek, won't you?

 Ok, so it's a butterfly not moth song - but hey, it's my blog ;)
Balanced together ocean upon the sky.....at the Shores


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