A Quest For Focus


** My Paradise

Called Home **

Let the Games Begin!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sunset last summer - not retouched I promise!
Every year we have a family July 4th blowout here at the lake, food, drink, bocce, horse shoes, swimming, boating, tubing, more food. There will be about 30-35 people...maybe more, we have surprise drop ins all the time! The first group is set to descend around midnight tonight, my sister is driving thru the night from South Carolina (yeah, I'll be worrying all night to be sure) and the other travelers should reach party central by tomorrow night...locals will pop in Sunday. (I can be found in the hammock)

I've made a book to enter in the Iron Chef Challenge on the Handmade Artists Forum, the prize is a free shop for life...that "f" word will get me every time! The rule is it must look like food..I do books...I like food...how hard can can it be?? So I set to bind my food themed book. What is rectangular and  recognizable? Why, a pop tart of course! I covered it in felt and then got desperate for pink fabric for the icing (if you know my books, sweet pink is not really a theme in the fabrics I choose), I had none I was not to be defeated, I headed to my closet HAH! An old pink t-shirt will do it, and it did. I sewed on some sparkly bugle beads for sprinkles and voila'! One full sized 6" x 9" 200 page yummy goodness!
Now I need to get all my friends to vote on it once they are closed for entries. Oh yeah, I'll be here shamelessly begging for votes you'd better believe! Hey, it's tough out there, a free shop would be (in the words of my fantastically crazy friend, Annie) FABOOSH!

I do have another book I just bound that I really love and want to share: (see left). I love the fabric, I love the binding, the perfectly matched cotton thread and the paper I bound into it is a beautifully heavy weight watercolor paper - perfect for the water color artist, altered artist or those that erase so much in their journals that they are thankful for heavy weight pages. Every once in awhile everything works. This is not to say I don't love my others but anyone that makes anything really does have favorites...go ahead...admit it, it's ok, we're among friends :)

Stir it up my friends! Enjoy your weekend! XOX
Come on, come on and stir it up..............at the Shores

Getting "It" Out There

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Well, I've gone and opened a second book shop. Yep. I did. I've been a member of Handmade Artist's Forum for a little while now and just recently they have revamped their Handmade Artist's Shop. I have been toying with the idea to open one up there, I mean really, for $5 a month, unlimited listings, they never expire, and you fork over ZERO commission to them when you sell something. I started really thinking seriously when every month my Etsy bill keeps getting higher and higher, I'll be keeping my Etsy shop but listing the same books in my HAFshop simultaneously. It's still new as I said, and not real well known but this husband wife team of artisans that run it really have their hearts in the right place - HANDMADE ONLY and they don't have their hands in the pockets of the artists trying to make a go of it, every time you list a new item it automatically gets tweeted to potentially over 100,000 of their followers on twitter. I'm waging a personal war trying to get my photos to look decent on there but I'm slowly figuring it out....and I've sold two books since I've opened a couple days ago which is promising!

On to one of my newest books I finished, I had a custom order request from a good friend that had a nephew graduating college, we decided on a guitar themed fabric. I coptic bound it and added a leather tie...but how to actually keep it shut was my challenge, I tried to order a metal guitar pick charm but my vendor didn't come through for me (that's another story probably best left untold)so I thought a wooden peg of some sort would be neat. A stick? Dowel? Something made of polymer clay? I decided to rummage through the garage to see what I could come up with...I spotted a paint stir stick, hmmm....perfect thickness, easy enough to whittle to the shape I want so I took it to my work table with Xacto knife in hand and proceeded to whittle and sand away, got it nice and smooth, stained it with a nice yellow alcohol ink and coated it with a polycrylic. It worked out nicely I think!
The above photo on another of my newer books I tied the exposed threads a little differently. I really prefer straight stitched bindings, they really allow for the book to lie nicely open and you don't have the "gutter" to fight when writing or drawing inside.

You ever see the movie Benny and Joon? It's one of my all time favorites - this song was in that movie.
You see time, time is our friend..........at the Shores

Playing Hooky

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Here is a kite for sale hanging at City Buddha, it was enormous!
My friend Beth from Raven's Sight and I went to Coventry yesterday, it was so nice to get away from the work table and just not think about it. In the 60's this area was Cleveland's version of Haight Ashbury, now it's a very eclectic mix of souls gathering there. We really had a ball browsing the shops, I bought a couple pair of wooden earrings and some cool beaded multi-strand bracelets then I had a yummy spinach pie at Tommy's - oh, and cannot forget the dozen fabulous "mish-mosh" bagels I scooped up at Bialy's bagels, they're the best outside of NYC!
A beautiful wood Sarasvati carving at City Buddha   

This store was full from floor to ceiling of retro camp and kitsch!

When was the last time you saw an old photo booth?!?

The third and fourth photos were taken at a store only to discover a sign saying "No Photos" after I'd already taken a few - Oooopsie!

On to shop news, I had a very good week at Blue Highways, 10 books were sold! The bad part is that it put my shop with less than a stellar inventory so the books leftover from the show that I was going to slowly list had to get listed on the fly. This is truly the worst part of selling online, the photos, the description writing...blah...my friend Jamie suggested that that would be a good side job for someone and I have to agree! 
Effervesce (click to go to listing)

Scrolling Mosaic (click to go to listing)

I hope everyone is enjoying a good weekend, the weather has been super nice here (finally).

Every day is such a perfect day to spend.....at the Shores

Show News

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I made it through my first show and it went rather well considering the set up at the venue was less than ideal. We were really crammed in there, but sales were made so it's all good! I did realize though, a single 6ft. table is much too small to display books on, they're just too big of an item.

I have been having a great week in sales at my Etsy shop, yesterday a woman bought 6, a couple months ago she had gotten 3, I'm curious as to what she's doing with them. Gifts? Personal use? If it is personal use she's a heavy duty journaler! To the left are the goodies going out to her today - I am including beaded book thongs (book marks) with all orders.
I was going to take a break from binding but now my shop is in need of new books, I'll see what it looks like once I list the ones left over from the show. I'll be having a house full for our annual family bash first week in July so some things have to get done around the house.

My husbands daughter's inlaws live right around the corner from us here and mentioned that they would till up a garden for me on their property if I was interested... well, you bet I was interested, our property is much too shaded for a proper garden and I until now have always had to plant in pots. I went right to the nursery and picked up a bunch of vegetable and fruit plants and set to putting them into the ground on Monday - 49 to be exact...can I tell you - I was one filthy, sore puppy after that to be sure!! Many may think it's too late for this but we've had the rainiest spring and lots of people have had a lot of rotting and washing away, most of the things I planted should be ready by Aug/Sept so I should be okay. I think I'll have to fence it in to keep the critters out though.

Wishing you all a Peace of Mind.....Take off your shoes and let your thoughts be kind

There ain't no dues and you can leave your blues behind....at the Shores

First Show Jitters

Saturday, June 04, 2011

So it's now exactly one week until my first show that I'll be vending at and I'm feeling a little nervous...do I have enough books made? Will they be well received? Is my display plan ok? Maybe everyone goes through these sorts of questions in their heads before their first. I have about 20 books that I have not listed in my shop, hopefully a lot of those will sell, otherwise it will take me a month of Sundays to get 5 pictures of each one and make Etsy listings for them! I'm crazy mad for the fabric on my newest book pictured above, it looks like it could have been on a Fillmore concert poster back in the 60's or 70's.

I've also been making description tags for all the books that are going to the show, I had a pretty stamp made and I think it makes for a nice tag. On the backs I have spaces to fill in the page count, paper type, size and price.

I've recently registered to do my second Komen Race for the Cure in Cleveland and decided to do another breast cancer awareness book - it is definitely perfect for one that has or has had breast cancer. I've titled it "Hair Doesn't Make The Girl". I did list this one in my shop

Wishing everyone a fantastic weekend!

The air has filled me head-to-toe....at the Shores

Fabric, Wonderful Fabric

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Anyone that knows me knows I have a fabric addiction. I used to laugh at hearing about others that have the same affliction...I laugh no more. In my last post I had mentioned that there was going to be an interview, well, it's been posted! Have a look here to read. If you ever need fabric I highly recommend FabricLovers, Sabra there is THE best! I'm anxiously awaiting her new shipment of fabric from Africa.

I had a good week with local sales and at my Esty shop last week - while this is GREAT, it also means I need to bind in double speed to replace the books sold to take to the Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show on the 11th! Here are a few in the works and/or finished. The celestial themed ones are minis (6"x6") and are crazy colorful and will be super thick. Love 'em!

I got the one below bound this morning. I love almost anything with olive green, these blues, pinks and purples pop on this one
In keeping with the celestial theme and things I love

Standin' in the sun darlin'.........at the Shores



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