Day 16/29 Days of Giving is…

isn’t it exciting to have the giveaways back?

i went through a touch of blog withdrawal while i was travelling

i didn’t quite realize JUST  how much i’d miss doing these

absence makes the heart grow fonder

or some crap thing like that anyhow

i’m so out of practice on this part

hope it’s not horridly boring now

i could just tell you about the giveaway

well, perhaps in just one moment

see, lil ol’ moi  tore myself from my studio

despite my muse dancing and creating with pure delight !

to bring you this giveaway today as promised

yup. just for YOU i stopped creating

who luvs ya? that’s right… obviously i must

i mean, i stopped creating when most inspired

helllll-loooo! i don’t just do that for anyone

you don’t really care eh? on with it? FINE!

obviously, it has to be an ultra-special giveaway

Oh, it is… it really, really is …

well i suppose 2 weeks of suspense was enough

this was WELL worth waiting for folks

*cough* lemme get that ring announcer voice back i mentioned a few weeks ago

ladies and probably no more than handful of gentleman …

hmm… that intro just isnt working for today

and i simply cannot think of another clever thing

let’s just dive right into it, shall we?

 “The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” – Mitch Albom

Prior to making this project public, I grabbed my handy lists journal, and began jotting down ideas of things to giveaway. I realized, it’d be far more fun to include people I admire, respect and care for. So I then began doodling names, companies, products … that I believed would make fan-tab-ulous gifts. One of the first names that sprung to mind was the talented Michele Beschen. I kinda thought she may be interested, but wondered if her schedule would allow it.. so when she agreed? I was not only elated, but extremely touched. All my joking aside – daily I am reminded of how generous our community is. Of things. Of themselves. Of their hearts.

Michele in my Baby Got Backgrounds Workshop

If you aren’t familar with Michele, then obviously you do live under that proverbial rock we’ve discussed in the past. Or don’t have cable tv. Or some other lame excuse. (Get out from under that rock already! though if you have cool rock drawings, let us see first). … See one day last year, Chel & I were talking … and discussing some folks who could be potential keynote speakers for the convenzione. She was in sheer panic, and it was up to me to *sigh*  once again save the day. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t quite that extreme. But still,  I obviously *cough* singlehandedly saved ZNE by suggesting Michele. Or maybe it’s just  the lil’ voices in my head say I saved it … I did however suggest Michele.  She accepted. Michele took MY workshop, yep… mine !!! (god, i’m horridly shameless aren’t i?)

 There I go – sidetracked again.

Anyhow … Michele was actually even better than I imagined. I have met other TV personalities before, and been disappointed. Ya know how it is, some have ego’s, some are just not at all what they seem … But Michele? She’s the real deal. A what-you-see-is-what-you-get kinda gal. A gal after my own heart. My respect for her tripled after spending in-person time with her, and I honestly can’t praise her enough. The girl is fearless – and I abso-friggin-lutely love that. She can create just about anything, quite possibly she’s creativity’s biggest cheerleader, isn’t afraid to laugh at herself .. and the passion for what she does is evident at every turn. What more could you want?

I’ll let you see for yourself in the interview I did with her! Don’t worry, we’ll reveal the giveaway package later.. yes, package!

Baby Got Back(grounds) Workshop

Michele Beschen & Chad Adams

(as always, the bold black questions are from me… the colored answers, are her answers… does anyone not know this by now? ha!)

Many of us, find you to be an amazing source of creative influence. What do you draw your inspiration/vision from? Who do you admire? Since it goes without saying that I was obviously the greatest teacher you have ever had *cough* and because humility is one of my greatest traits *cough*, you shouldn’t feel at all pressured to say me, Chrysti Hydeck.

I draw my inspiration from absolutely everything around me.  People, Places, Nature, Trash, Books….I see ideas in the most unexpected places and I think that really stems from training our eyes and our minds to open to their absolute fullest.  I admire everyday people who are resourceful and innovative; authentic, interesting people who love to learn and love to share.  And, yes that includes you, my friend.  I loved the anything goes approach with your class because that’s what encourages people to let loose of their ideas and their expression of them.   You were so generous with your time and your ideas and that is something I greatly admire in people.

talent is always conscious of its own abundance and does not object to sharing“…

Your talent, originality and enthusiasm aside – I am also remarkably impressed by your business sense. It’s a tough job, carving out an original, creative career path – could you give my readers any tips on taking that journey?

It’s extremely tough, and some days I have questioned “if this is what I’m really supposed to be doing, should it be this hard and this much of a challenge?!” — but at the end of the day, I know in my heart this is what I’m meant to do and I truly believe that when you embrace what you are truly passionate about and combine that with determination, resourcefulness and resilience, the path will keep getting longer and longer and wider and wider – (with of course, a few unexpected turns and roadblocks to work around here and there along the way) – and it’s at those junctures that the resourcefulness, the determination and the resilience need to be at their strongest.  It’s also important to surround yourself with positive, like-minded people that you can honestly share ideas, concerns and challenges with. It’s ok to ask for help now and then.  If you’re fortunate enough to have a direct line to an inspiring mentor, draw and learn as much as you can from them.

Here are a few of the quotes I have written on the wall behind my desk (yes, I write and scribble on the walls in my office):  “in a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failure” & “a person who walks in another’s tracks leaves no footprints“– these remind me that it’s ok to be different, and that we should always be challenging ourselves to explore new ways of doing things.    This one reinforces the whole belief that one thing always leads to the next and everything happens for a reason —  “Love the moment. Flowers grow out of dark moments.  Therefore, each moment is vital.  It affects the whole.  Life is a succession of such moments and to live each, is to succeed“…corita kent.  Everyone always needs to remember…… ‘It’s what YOU make of it’.

I am a big believer in creative fearlessness and one of the things I adore about you is that you are undoubtedly a jill-of-all-trades! What advice can you give to those folks who are intimidated to try a new skill, use a power tool, or make something that seems a bit off the wall? Have you/are you ever been intimidated to try something?

I’m with you on that one, sister!  Everything I do is designed to remove the fear from trying new creative things and experimenting.  That’s how great things happen and exciting discoveries are made.  One thing that I never think or say is “I Can’t Do That” — instead I think “I could learn to do that!”  I was fortunate to have a family that nurtured my can-do spirit and I have always believed that I can do whatever I set my mind to and I’m not afraid to try.  Granted, it doesn’t always pan out as planned, but I love the whole process of learning and researching.  I am always trying to instill that can-do spirit in everyone, because it’s the self-doubt, the fear and the inner-critic that usually gets in the way for people.  It is so important to ignore those negative thoughts because they will cheat you out of the whole invigorating creative experience.  Do it for you! If you like it, that’s all that matters.  My house is filled with off the wall stuff, because that’s what I like!  Isn’t that the beauty of creative expression? You’re able to create things however, whenever, wherever, you want! 

To be honest, I’ve always been more fearful of the criticism and judgment than I ever have been of actually trying something.  It’s in those moments that I look at these quotes on my wall  “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure: which is: try to please everybody“…herber b. swope. “Some look at things that are, and ask why.  I dream of things that never were and ask why not?”…george bernard shaw

 It’s no secret that I love power tools.  And, I don’t understand the hesitation and fear so many people have over using them.  In my mind, they are no different than the electric mixer or the sewing machine.  They can open up an expansive new world of creative opportunity. I didn’t have all those tools when I started, nor did I know how to run all of them, but I slowly started adding to the workshop.   I started small and I started cheap. I would buy the most economical, space saving version of a tool, be it a sander, a saw, etc. to get familiar with how it worked, what I could do with it and then would upgrade as needed or could afford.    I am all about personal responsibility and I think that each and every one of us is capable of operating tools and being smart and safe about how we go about using them. They can really enable you to take your creative projects to a whole new level!

What’s the oddest object within your reach right now?

a jar filled with ‘lucky stones’ — my dad is a commercial fisherman and they are found inside the head of a perch.  (May sound gross to some I know, but it’s really not!) They are these beautiful pearly white ‘stones’ that I’m trying to work into some jewelry. People used to carry them in their pockets in belief they brought them luck.

I spoke last year about just a few of the art mishaps I have had. Could you share some of yours? The more embarrassing the better!  

I had somehow smeared black paint/ink across my face without realizing and made a trip to Lowe’s of course chatting up loud and proud to everyone I know.  Got a glimpse of myself in the car mirror.  Face went from black to that really hot red color that I’m sure you’re aware of, in a hurry.  Why do people not tell you about that stuff?

I’m not exactly graceful, myself, so I am usually spilling this or that in the shop, and when it spills over something I’m actually working on, It doesn’t even phase me anymore, because I’ve gotten very good at just making it part of the piece.  It gives me some looks that I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.
 
I was hauling some used gallons of house paint from the town studio over to the studio behind the house and was in a hurry, so I just set them on the floor of the back seat (and, maybe I had piled one on top of another)…of my husband’s truck (I also might want to mention I’m not always diligent about making sure the lids are tightly back on things).  I got to the studio and went about working on something, not unloading the paint right away, and a few hours later, as my husband went to use his truck, I saw a paint can go flying across the yard along with some very colorful words, and quickly realized that this amazing shade of golden ochre (almost a full gallon of it, mind you) had covered the car floor — and had been sitting there for a few hours.  Have you ever tried to get paint out of carpet?  My tip on that is to keep it wet and get out the wet/dry shop vac!   Luckily it was summer and I could make good use of the garden hose.  I can proudly say that I was able to clean up every drop. 

There are many, many more but I better keep moving along here….

With the economy crunched right now, many people are reverting back to a handmade holiday. (yay!) What are some your handmade holiday traditions?

Handmade holidays are all the more special, aren’t they?!  For this Christmas, we as a family made every ornament for the tree.  We strung cranberries, we baked dough ornaments, we rummaged around the yard for materials to use. Our tree is the quirkiest looking thing you’ve ever seen and we all love it!  It was two weekends of doing things as a family and we smile big every time we walk by it.  We also make a point to exchange handmade gifts and it’s so exciting to see what everyone comes up with.  A handmade gift gives everyone the opportunity to inject extra thought into the gift and really personalize it for the person you’re making it for.  It doesn’t take money or commercial things to make the holidays merry!  Another fun holiday tradition that’s not tied in with christmas, but rather my wedding anniversary.  My husband and I exchange new handmade rings each year.  We alternate who’s responsible for it each year and sometimes we make them ourselves or we search out unique rings from area artists. It’s a fun way to change things up and celebrate growth and it makes for an interesting collection. 

And kind of on a side note….Handmade doesn’t always mean it has to be made with your hands, either.  There are amazing artisans all around us offering up some of the most original works.  I think it’s important for everyone to support local artisans by making a point to search them out when looking for that unique, one of a kind gift or even when your shopping efforts are focused on yourself.  I love to buy clothes and jewelry from independent designers.  You won’t catch me at the mall very often!

Let’s talk toilet paper – Pull from the top, or the bottom?

Do not care, as long as it’s there! :)

How do you work out new ideas and get past being in a creative block? We’d love a lil’ glimpse into your creative process.

I wander around my shop.  I open bins, I flip through sketch books, I stare at my shelves.  I find all my supplies very inspiring, and sometimes all it takes is to just look, feel and play with my creative things that don’t have anything to do with the project  I’m working on. If that doesn’t get things into gear, I take a break from it.  I take a walk or go for a drive.  It frees the mind so that it’s not feeling forced and as a result, the ideas start flowing again.

Yoga is also a big thing for me. My mind is always racing from one thought to another, so practicing yoga every morning has really made a difference in what I like to call my ‘creative endurance’!  

Personally, I’m a quote whore. Do you have a favorite quote or two?

I love quotes too!  I find them thought provoking, empowering and inspiring. I’ve given you quite a few throughout my answers, but here are a couple that were my ‘drivers’ when I first started this business: 

“Creativity is the greatest gift one can possess”

Without creativity, there would be no progress“…edward de bono”
 
Creativity can solve almost any problem.  The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality overcomes everything“….george lois

and my own personal mantra…”a curious mind and a courageous soul make for a creative spirit
 
When you are not creating, what can we find you doing? Aside from taking one of my amazing workshops that is. (shameless, aren’t I?)

I hate to say it, but I’m always creating.  Even when I’m reading, I have my sketchbook nearby to sketch things as they come.  If I go for a walk, I’m looking for things to play with.  When I play with my daughter, we’re always coming up with new ways to do this or that.  When my husband and I go out, there are always conversations about ideas of things we’re wanting to build or try, or things we’re ‘dreaming’ of doing or trying!  When I’m on a road trip back to my parents, (and not the one driving) I’ll have the woodburner plugged into the adaptor so I can make good use of my road time!  What can I say, it’s a way of life for me!  (And, yes, if you were closer I would be taking your amazing workshops…only that would still count as creating, right?!):)

Don’t you think Simply Michele Inc. would sound just a bit better as Simply Michele & Chrysti Inc? Ok, Ok, I won’t put you on the spot — why don’t you just give us a sneak peek of some of the wonderful things you have in store for us!

That does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?!  I think 2009 is going to be a fabulous year for sharing ideas, so I encourage everyone to stay tuned.

Today’s giveaway is outstanding! (y’all are lucky I didn’t steal it for myself) Make my readers work for it and have them answer a question to be entered – what would you like to know about them? 

What’s one creative thing (product, technique, tool, etc) you want to learn more about?

So what is the outstanding prize package you ask? It’s seriously an amazing bundle of creative goodness that one lucky reader will soon call their own! (and you’ll totally dig the packaging too!) .. Check it out..

Michele Beschen's Courage to Create with Paint DVD

Michele Beschen's Courage to Create with Paint DVD

 that’s just for starters…

Michele Beschen's Courage to Create with Jewelry DVD

Michele Beschen's Courage to Create with Jewelry DVD

 

 

nope, not done yet …

YBNRML Leather Cuff Bracelet SIGNED by Michele!

YBNRML Leather Cuff Bracelet SIGNED by Michele!

and wait… there’s more!

New Brunswick retro license plate belt buckle- SIGNED by Michele!

New Brunswick retro license plate belt buckle- SIGNED by Michele!

Yup – over $85.00 worth of amazing creative goodness !!!!!!!!!!!  Man, I am SOOOO wishing I could enter my own giveaways. Is there any reason i can’t? I’ll just have to hop on over to her shop and get my own goods … her newsletter had a killer coupon I need to take advantage of tonight! I’m dying for a quiltless scarf.

So … want to have your crack at this abundance of inspirational goodies?

  • On this post in the comments answer Michele’s question: What’s one creative thing (product, technique, tool, etc) you want to learn more about?and/or my silly question toilet paper – Pull from the top, or the bottom”  – Extra Credit if you plead with Michele to make it Simply Michele & Chrysti Inc. The whole MC thing makes for great puns…
  • Do this by: Sunday, January 18th, 2009
  • PLEASE keep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works! I’m amazed daily at the impact this project is having on people. I want it to be contagious, plus it fuels me to make it bigger & better! 
  •  Enter Day 0 still!
  • Check out the first batch of winners, the second batch of winners and the third batch of winners!
  • Visit Michele’s Blog  for even MORE inspiration, her site & her store (great prices, even better items!)
  • Glad to be back – Missed you all! – Chrysti

    Day 14/29 Days of Giving is…

    … Is there not one person out there whom I can convince to name their first born after me?

    {sigh} I’m a tad disappointed in you all…

    … who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity

    to rename their 30 sumthin year old son with my name…

    {sniff}

    alright!  i’m over it.

    ….despite no single artistic souls out there gifting their child with my name

    it brings me hope to know there may be animals….

    ….jewelery collections and the like bestowed with the lovely name of chrysti

    my mom would appreciate it if i reverted back to how she spells it …

    …. {christy} in case you didn’t know

    these ramblings don’t at all tie in to today’s giveaway…

    … so ya know, feel free to just tune them out

    i’m used to it….

    …. there are men in my life afterall

    and we all know what good listeners they make….

    …. okay, that’s unfair

    some men are incredible listeners…

    …and some are simply incredible to listen to

    AHA! Oooooo! A tie in! {applause}

    Okay ladies (and probably under a handful of male readers out there) … have you met the amazing Jon Troast? If you haven’t, pull yourself out from under that rock you are hiding beneath and get with it! Ok, that was just my not-so-nice way of stating – read on!

    Last August, I had the remarkably good fortune of instructing at the first ever ZNE convenZioNE .. an amazing celebration of creativity that I am ever so grateful I was a part of. Throughout the event – we were blessed to have a talented, and very brave musician in residence – Mr. Jon Troast. Why so brave you ask? Well, consider this for a moment: an event dominated with women… and a lone male singer. You be the judge!

    Photo by Chrysti

    Jon Troast at the ZNE Convenzione : Photo by Chrysti

    At any rate – Jon was among the people that kinda got to me while thouroughly impressing me. Have you ever met one of those folks that are obviously comfortable in their own skin, and have that all-around-aura-of-authentic-positivity? It’s contagious. It’s inspiring. You are left wanting.. well, more. Love that. He was not only performing but jumping in whenever we needed a helping hand, laughing, and he was – what I think was the absolute perfect companion to the event.

    Photo by Chrysti

    Jon Troast at Bella Galleria : Photo by Chrysti

    Music & art simply go hand in hand. I believe creativity flows freely from one to the other in this glorious, endless circle … one constantly feeding the other. Have you ever sat back and just allowed yourself to create to different types of music? Given yourself permission to play – to let the music guide you?  I have these  oh-so-powerful-step-back-and-gasp-in-utter-delight-moments when I see how classical music changes my paint strokes subconsciously, or how the really hard, angsty music I was once so drawn to pours this personally haunting darkness into a piece – and when it’s music with lyrics that speak to my soul – I create pieces that show ‘me’ at my rawest, most vulnerable form. Give it a try, Mix it up. See what happens within your own creations.

    Photo by Chrysti

    Jon Troast at the Convenzione : Photo by Chrysti

    Describing music has never been my strong-suit. If I like it, i like it. If I don’t, I don’t. I’m not one to really classify anything.. which might be why I’m so drawn to Jon’s music. It’s a blend of styles – that somehow, become unique to him. It’s evident his own, true voice and experiences lie within his work. All I know, is since I had the privilege of listening to him up close & personal …. he has made his way to each of my playlists – especially, when I’m creating. A couple of his songs, one in particular, would make the short list if I ever create the soundtrack to my life. Powerful isn’t it?

    I asked Jon to take part in my 29 days of giving project, not even really expecting an answer … so imagine just HOW friggin’  thrilled I was when he signed on – not only for a giveaway, but an interview as well! Lucky, lucky us! After reading his interview, I’m now torn on what it is I enjoy most about him – his music, or his attitude! Bravo Jon…. come see for yourself.

    Jon Troast at Bella Galleria: Photo by Chrysti

    (ya know the drill by now dontcha? questions are mine, the answers are jon’s)

    Now that I have posted your photos, I better just get this out of the way.. my readers are largely female and it’s just inevitable I’ll be asked: Are you single?

    Yes, I am single.

    I have to just jump right in with your $100 house tours. I was fascinated by this when we met, and I think my readers will be too. Can you tell us a bit about them?

     Sure. Basically, for $100, I play a one hour concert in your living room.

    You can invite friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Just as long as they’re willing to listen. I came up with the idea because I want to play for people who are listening. What better way to get them to listen than to play in their living room!? Many times, I stay with the host, but housing is not a required part of the deal. I’ve played close to 150 house concerts in the last year or so, from Maine to California to Canada. It’s been a blast, and a great way to do some sight seeing!!

    I bet you have seen some amazing parts of the country as a result of this tour.. any personal favorites so far? Anywhere you have yet to go, that you’d like to?

    I’ve actually recently written a song about not picking favorites because I like each one for different reasons. I did just get back from a West Coast tour, and it was beautiful, so it may be moving up in the rankings, but I haven’t decided on any favorites.

    I haven’t been to Alaska or Hawaii yet. Those are two places in the US I’d still like to go. I think I’ll have to work out a deal that if they pay to get me there, I’ll play for free!

    You can sing, you play an amazing guitar – but what I am drawn to most are your lyrics. I feel some sort of connection to them, and often recognize glimpses of myself, and emotions within them. Songwriting is no easy task, can you tell us a bit about your creative process, and how you overcome ‘blocks’ of your own?

    I don’t think I’m going to unlock any magic secrets here, but for me, the creative process in songwriting works best when I have times of meaningful interaction mixed with time and space to write. The inspiration comes from…well, life, I guess. But in order to process it, and write creatively I need a little isolation and time to think. I usually talk about empathy with songwriting, because I think it’s a huge part of writing songs that people can relate to. If you’re aware of what they’re going through, you can write in ways that emphasize that shared experience/emotion.

    As far as “blocks”, as long as I give myself time and space to write, I haven’t had trouble with that. Sure, sometimes I’m not very productive, but there’s really no quota for how many songs I need to write.

    Wedding Ring is among my favorite songs that you have put out, perhaps because I am adopted. Where did the inspiration for this song come from and is it a true story?

    “Well love makes money seem so poor
    Wasn’t any way they could afford
    To give that girl a single thing
    So my mother sold her wedding ring

    You sparkle more than any diamond
    I wouldn’t trade you for the world
    What are your dreams now go and find them
    My daughter..my daughter..my wedding ring”

    – Jon Troast, Wedding Ring lyrics

    True story. I have 4 adopted siblings. The song is about one of my sisters who was adopted from Bangladesh. In order to pay for the adoption, my mom sold her diamond ring. Awesome!

    This is where I’d ask you to serenade me if this was an in person interview. Let’s just have a moment of silence while I remember how amazing you were live; actually i’ll insert another you tube video.

    Lyrics to that tune can be seen here.

    Random questions just thrill me; so here’s one for you: How many licks to the center of a tootsie pop?

    Well, I held a contest on my email list asking “What number am I thinking of between 1 and 100?”, and the most common answer I got was 33. It was not correct for that contest, so maybe it’ll work here. I’m saying 33.

    It’s so cliché to ask this, but I’m doing it anyway … What are some of the bands/tunes on your own playlist currently?

    I try to listen to as much variety as possible. Here are a few of the more recent selections: Coldplay, Ingrid Michaelson, the soundtrack from “The Mission”, and an old gospel music cd a friend gave me.

    Music and helping artists move furniture around on retreats aside, what are some of your favorite things/activities to indulge in?

    That about sums it up! Hmmm…a few more- exercising(recently, swimming), reading, socializing, cooking…maybe)

    There has GOT to be at least one good embarrassing moment on your house tours, or funny story you can share with us! Let’s have it.

    Well, I’ve forgotten the words to a song a couple of times. My phone rang in the middle of a concert. I sang a song I wrote called “Living Room Tour”, which has a line that says “I fell in love with your daughter”. I wasn’t really thinking about the fact that the folks I was playing for had a daughter. She was 12. Her dad threatened me. She was probably more embarrassed than me though.

    One other thing that really struck me when we met, is this radiant glow you seem to have. It’s one I typically recognize in people who have lived long lives, an internal peace.. that acceptance and happiness so few seem to find. What’s your secret to a happy life?

    For me, it’s knowing I’m in the hands of a loving God. Getting to know Him more every day. Knowing there’s nothing I can do that will make Him love me any less. It takes a lot of the pressure off!

    It’s tradition here, for the guest to ask my readers a question to be answered to be eligible for a prize. What would you like my readers to answer today? It can be as serious or as whacky as you’d like.

    I’m assuming the question doesn’t have to be about me. If it does, how about something like “What color shoes does Jon wear?”

    If it can be anything, how about “Which raisins taste better, Sunmaid or Dole?” The answer would be “Dole”.

    jontroast_aperson_150 jontroast_withtofrom_150 jontroast_second_150

    Isn’t he ab-so-friggin-lutly delightful folks? It’s one of those traits that makes his already good music – even better. Amazing how that works.

    …. Darn it! Why didn’t I ask him if I could design his next CD cover… maybe next time…{sigh}.

    So yeah, back to the giveaway! Jon didn’t just donate one CD today – he donated 3! Count ’em .. 1.. 2.. 3! Initially I was going to give them as a set – however I am feeling particularly generous today myself and will draw names so that 3 of you shall be gifted with an incredible CD of his!

    Even you have his CD’s enter – You can gift it to someone else, through here or in person. Just let me know whom you want it to go to!

    ALL of you have the opportunity to download one of his CD’s – free of charge. Click here, and if you choose to sign up for his mailing list – you may download his CD Second Story – at no charge! I love when everyone can be gifted.

    To tune into today’s giveaway and have your chance at one of the 3 Cd’s ..

    • On this post in the comments answer one of Jon’s questions: “What color shoes does Jon wear?” and/or “Which raisins taste better, Sunmaid or Dole?”  – Extra Credit if you plead with Jon for me to have a shot at designing one of his CD covers someday.
    • Orrrr… You could also let us know how music affects/influences  your creativity and work.
    • Do this by: Sunday, December 21th, 2008
    • PLEASE keep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works! I’m amazed daily at the impact this project is having on people. I want it to be contagious, plus it fuels me to make it bigger & better! 
    •  Enter Day 0 Day 10 & Day 11 & Day 12 & Day 13
    • Check out the first batch of winners!
    • Check out  second batch of winners! Is it you?
    • Visit Jon’s site where his blog, store and other goodies are!

    Day 12/29 Days of Giving is…

    I can’t wait for you to see today’s giveaway!…

     … not one, but 2 BIG prizes .. you’ll love them

     first I wanted to address something though…

    .. bear with me for a moment please?

    "Collecting My Thoughts" Journal Page by Pam Carriker

    "Collecting My Thoughts" Journal Page by Pam Carriker

    i’ve been asked recently, why I feature other artists here…

    … asked, don’t I mind that money I could potentially have

    is landing potentially in someone else’s pockets….

    Ummmm. Nope. Not one little bit.

    … firstly, giving isn’t about what you receive in return

    naturally, i’m thrilled with whatever the universe sends my way …

    … however my humanity often comes before my business sense

    that doesn’t mean I’m a poor business woman …

    …. it simply renders me a moral one, or more accurately

    one who is able to lay my head down, feeling good about the choices I make …

    The thing is this: In part, I chose teaching, writing, painting, photography etc. — this spectrum of creative goodness as my career path –because of the community we have formed. It tickles me every friggin’ time I see how intertwined we are. I revel in that delight. It’s actually pretty darn EXCITING to watch others succeed as well. It fuels me, I draw inspiration from it.. it’s my escape. Besides, nothing pure, or satisfactory was ever gained by greed.

    “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”
    — Jane Addams 

    "One Wing" by Pam Carriker

    "One Wing" by Pam Carriker

    I believe the more we hold one another up, the bigger our communities grow – the more successful each of us become. Success — is measured independently. It’s not a universal thing.  For some it’s a steady career, others it’s being published, for someone else it’s a gallery show, and for someone else it’s merely finishing a page in a journal. Success. It’s as unique as we are. It can be had by all of us. Especially, when we nurture one another.  Creativity is far too powerful, too far reaching to be held closely & guarded. It’s a treasure and a gift … one that unites us. One, we all share.

    ZNEis a community that is dear to me. It was a place I had found online — that i fit in. Before Mixed Media became mainstream — that was difficult to do. ZNE celebrates all things creative which is a natural compliment to who I am. Through ZNE I have met some of the most gifted artists, the kindest souls, and friends I will treasure always… and friends I am just beginning to know even better.

    “In our hectic, fast-paced, consumer-driven society, it’s common to feel overwhelmed, isolated and alone. Many are re-discovering the healing and empowering role that community can bring to our lives. The sense of belonging we feel when we make the time to take an active role in our communities can give us a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.”
    — Robert Alan 

    "The Promise of Love" by Pam Carriker

    "The Promise of Love" by Pam Carriker

    Pam Carriker is one of those women I have been blessed to meet through ZNE, and just beginning to know as a person, not just an artist. I have watched her grow, develop her style, become published, and follow her dreams. I’m watching her succeed and my heart just leaps for her! I was fortunate enough to win 2 of her prints through a blog giveaway of her own – and I was actually impressed at the quality of them. Yes, Me! I’m not typically a fan of prints, having been burned one too many times on poor quality ones people print themselves from substandard printers. If I pay for a print, I want it to last. I want it to look good. I want to be proud to display it!  I was beyond thrilled with Pam’s! So I Invited her to take part in the 29 Days of Giving. ( which as a sneak peek, will become a weekly thing here… )

    "Grow" by Pam Carriker

    "Grow" by Pam Carriker

    Grab an indulgent beverage of your choice, pull up a seat and take a few moments to get to know Pam, right along with me! We’ll reveal the amazing prizes she donated soon, don’t worry! Patience! Good things come to those who wait…

    (as always, I’m asking the questions, Pam’s words are the responses.. duh.)

    One of the things I am so drawn to in your work, is the authenticity – all of your pieces have this vision into a soul. It’s evident they come from that magical place within you. What drives you to create? Have you always been creative, or is this something you have pursued only in recent years? Tell us a bit about it!
     
    I have always had the need to create.  My first ‘artistic’ memory is of drawing purple polka dots on the newly painted lavender walls of my bedroom as a child.  My mom was Not happy about that one!  I took every art class offered all during school and afterwards expressed my creative nature through various arts and crafts venues, such as Tole Painting, Stamping, and Scrapbooking.  When I ‘found’ mixed media art about 2 years ago, I was making paper bag albums and selling them on ebay, hence the name, The Bag Lady.  While on ebay I noticed the same three little letters by work that I found amazing, ZNE, and so one day I asked someone what they stood for.  I wish I knew who that was, I would so love to thank them!  It lead me to the most inspiring place, and I have finally found art form that allows me to draw from the 20+ years of previous experience, combining many techniques into one piece of art.

    As to what drives me to create, that I do not know.  I only know that I need to.  These past couple of years I have found such release in creating.  I feel as if I am pouring my heart into my work, drawing from the ever changing emotions of being a woman, a wife, and most importantly a mom.

    Do you have a favorite piece you have created? If so, why?

    I know this probably sounds silly, but each new piece is my favorite, until I create the next one.  I think it is because I feel like I am on a journey and each piece takes me one more step down the path to discovering my true self.

     In addition to your beautiful Mixed Media Paintings, I know you are also an avid Art Journaler. What advice can you give to those who see a blank page in their books and just get stumped?
     
    Keep your journal out when you are creating art.  You can add leftover paint right to your journal, getting rid of that scary blank page right off the bat.  If you use colors and images that you are drawn to, you will create journal pages that speak about you.  I am very excited that my first journals are going to be part of Somerset’s Art Journals, due out January ’09 , so you can check that out for more tips from several different artists:-)

     Who influences you, both as a business woman and your art?
     
    Wow, this would be quite a list.  I think that those who are ahead of me on this journey inspire me to set goals and take that first step towards seeing them realized.  I like to think of all of us on this artistic journey have one hand reaching out in front and one reaching behind helping the next person with what we have learned.   My husband is another huge influence every time I think how could I possibly do that, he just looks at me and says, ‘Why not?’.

    So many of my readers want to be published but stop themselves from submitting to publications. You have gone through this process yourself, can you offer them any tips to overcome their fears? (proof is in the pudding folks, see Pam’s great article in my favorite magazine: Cloth, Paper, Scissors  July/Aug 2008 issue here)
     
    They can’t say ‘yes’ if you don’t give them a chance.  Seriously.  It is scary, and even more scary the first time they say ‘yes, we would like you to write this article’, but the rewards are so worth it!  Last year I set a goal for myself to get something published, what happened was so much more than I could have hoped for and has lead me to make new goals for 2009.  I am a firm believer in writing down your goals and keeping track of your achievements.  It makes them real.  It makes you accountable.  Check out the Art Calls for your favorite magazines and start there.  Don’t be discouraged if they don’t use something, keep trying.  If this is something you really want to do then don’t let fear keep you from it.

    What’s one artistic skill you’d like to cultivate in the coming year?
     
    I have been concentrating on sketching in my journal.  I love collage, but want to develop my drawing skills further. 

    You’re stranded on that proverbial island…. and can only take 5 artsy supplies with you. What are they?
     
    My journal, charcoal, water soluble graphite pencil, aqua brush, and Caran d’ Ache water soluble crayons.  With these I could be happy for quite some time!

    Do you have a creative routine/process? Things you do habitually before you sit down to create? Or do you just dive right in?
     
    Well, I’m a busy mom, so studio time is squeezed between everything else.  I am always working on things in stages.  Put a coat of gesso on, go do the laundry, add a layer of paint, run the vacuum, you get the picture.  My creative process is more like multi-tasking!

    As a devout fan of the random question, I have to ask: salty or sweet?
     
    Now that is the hardest question yet!  I have to say I lean towards sweet, but OMGosh I just made the most fabulous candied pecans today, that are both salty and sweet and they are heaven!

    It’s tradition here that our guest asks my readers a question to be eligible for the prizes.. what would you like to know from the crowd I have here?

    Where is the most unusual place (geographically) that you have created art?  This way we get to see who are the graffiti artists out there-lol! 

     Speaking of prizes – I think we have kept them in suspense long enough! Tell the readers a little bit about the amazing donations you are giving to the lucky recipients today!
     
    (For Recipient 1:)  I would love to share two prints, your choice, of my mixed media portraits.  These are 5×7 prints that I had professionally done, and would be perfect matted and framed to an 8 x 10 size.

    (For Recipient 2:) A free registration to my Visual Journalism 101 workshop.If the recipient has already signed up for the workshop I will issue a full refund of their workshop fee should they win! It is a 5 week course, that will help you get started keeping a journal or give you a jump start if you have tried but not kept up with it. More info below: 

    Visual Journalism 101 Workshop taught by Pam Carriker

    Visual Journalism 101 Workshop taught by Pam Carriker

    This will be an 5 week expedition into the world of visual journalling.. If you have ever wanted to start keeping an art journal, or started one, only to have it fall by the wayside, then this is the class for you! The class will cover journal techniques, putting together a journalling kit, completing at least 7 journal pages, and answer some road block questions like, ‘How do I get over the fear of the Blank Page?’, ‘How can I possibly fit another artistic pursuit into my schedule?’, and ‘Where do I start?’

    TOLD you this was another generous and amazing gift! Seriously – one winner receives two – count em’ – two prints of THEIR choosing, and another a registration to Pam’s wonderful class. Um Hello, Can I enter my OWN giveaway? Please? 

     I know you’re anxious to enter; just do the following: 

    • Answer Pam’s question: “Where is the most unusual place (geographically) that you have created art?” and/or tell me what success means to you – if you totally hate those, then go for this one: Salty or Sweet.
    • Do this by: Sunday, December 21th, 2008
    • PLEASE keep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works! I’m amazed daily at the impact this project is having on people. I want it to be contagious, plus it fuels me to make it bigger & better!
    •  Enter Day 0 Day 10 & Day 11
    • Check out the first batch of winners!
    • Check out the newly posted – second batch of winners! Is it you?
    • Vist Pam Online: Her BlogHer Workshop, Her Etsy Store

    I can’t wait to meet Pam in person at the ConvenZioNE next year ( I’ll be teaching!), and she’s doing a make & take I believe!

    Warmly, Chrysti

    Day 10/29 Days of Giving is…

    friends, i feel so badly i missed yesterday …

    …technology just wasn’t on my side

    but rather than dwell there …

    …and get mighty annoyed again

    i just want to dive head first  into today’s….

    …. absofriggnlutly fabulous giveaway

    Oh. I’m not telling quite yet. You have to read to find out! It’s soooooooooooooooo worth it though.

    SO very worth it.

    Page 35-36

    “Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.”
     Bo Bennett

    A few months ago, I placed (what I thought was) a seemingly innocent phone call to my friend Lia; little did I know it would turn out costing me money I didn’t really have to spend! If you don’t know Lia (artjunkgrl) … she has this amazing sense of contagious enthusiasm that just …well, it ignites you! Really. Her passion catches you, wraps you up within it’s folds like a cozy blanket on a brisk day… You’re enveloped in her spirit and before you know it – you’re whisked away onto some whimsical artsy adventure that you never expected! I love that she knows how to immerse her soul in whatever creative venture she has taken on – but in the few years I have known her – I can’t quite recall a time she was quite THIS excited.

     Page 15-16

    “The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.”
    Stephen Nachmanovitch

    Enter Suzi Blu & her incredible Les Petite Dolls Class! Lia had gone to Suzi town, and was taking with me with her. Within hours of that call I had signed up – hesitantly at first if the truth be told – but man, I haven’t looked back once yet. Before I knew it, I was drawing faces, girls, and experimenting with them like a mad woman. I was inspired – in the truest sense of it … that awesome kind of inspired you felt as a small child. Where time didn’t have meaning and you could get lost in this magical world all your own. I was using colors I almost never use. Playing with styles I rarely dabble in — and I loved the freedom I gained as a result. I love the subtle changes I have seen in my work since, and I am enjoying taking what she taught me, and making it my own. 

     Page 25-26 (bottom)

    “Creative work is play. It is free speculation using materials of one’s chosen form.”
    Stephen Nachmanovitch

    The pics you see scattered on my post here, are all part of my practicing. I could barely do a face prior. I have a few journals now filled with girlies, and am slowly working on getting them all scanned in.

    Check out what I do have posted:

     
    Page 43-44 (right)

    “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”
    Joseph Chilton Pearce

     Suzi & I have exchanged a few emails since I signed up, and I am genuinly enjoying getting to know her. We are kindred spirits where creativity comes into play, and both believe there is no wrong, no excuse for holding back, and to enjoy – really enjoy the process. She is remarkably comfortable in front of the camera, and her videos will assuredly coach anyone through any of those annoying lil self-doubts we get. She’s an authentic personality, larger than life, and quite possibly creativity’s biggest cheerleader – and she’ll make ya laugh. I’m a sucker for folks who can make me smile, and know how to laugh at themselves.

    Page 23-24 (right)

    “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Anyway, you will be able to draw  face when you are done. Really. I didn’t think I’d get any decent ones, I just wanted to play. Play without deadlines, without worrying if it’s up to par for a sale … just to play. Lo & Behold, I am doing faces. Addicted to them too. And I’m a tough cookie to please when it comes to being taught, and getting my hard-earned money’s worth. I shouldn’t overlook the rest of the class – it’s great for mixed media virgins, or experienced artists – lots of layer love (my fav as you well know)… beeswax tips, and a whole heck-of-alot more. If you take this fantabulous online course – you will get 10x your money worth. I want to go on, and on and on… but I think you’ll enjoy hearing from Suzi herself more than me….

    Don’t worry there are still prizes to be had, but you still need to read on!

     Page 31-32 (right)

    True to her generous nature & without hesitation Suzi agreed to contribute to the giveaway and to an interview… so without further delay …

    I proudly present you with Ms. Suzi Blu herself!

    (and yeah… the black, bold questions are mine… the colored responses are Suzi’s anwers… do I really need to explain this?)

    You are (to my knowledge) one of the first mixed-media artists to develop a (well-deserved-cult-like!)following with video blogging. You are wacky, wonderful — and oh-so-open with yourself as well as your knowledge! What inspired you to start video blogging, and what advice can you give to those who are afraid to open themselves up in that way?

     I’ve always been a down to earth person and sort of fragile in the world.  I still am when I go places, Im pretty shy. Not when you get to know me of course but alone, in the supermarket, Im scared of everyone. ha. Of life.  But on video I can be anything I want to be. I can be my true self.  As if Im talking to my best friend in the world and she approves and loves me completely. I started making videos out of boredom and necessity.  I was finishing my BA through online classes and spent the majority of my time alone in my aparment with my cat. I lived on student loans and when my money ran thin I put up paintings on ebay.  You Tube was new to me then and I saw how a few other artists would film the making of their painting in their auction and I thought that was a fantastic idea.  I’ve always had a video camera and so I just did it.  In the beginning no one knew me or watched and not all of my paintings sold. But I still made one video a week no matter what, doing whatever I wanted. I WAS FREE! it was awesome. puppet shows in my kitchen, I could be as corny, as happy as I wanted. I could spew my own brand of spiritual art happiness and there was no one there, no parents or friends, to roll their eyes at me (which is what happened in my ‘real life.’  The fact that anyone would really watch was completely not in my thoughts.

    If you could pick one person, living or deceased to spend a day creating with — which lucky soul would be your top choice? Why?
    Oscar Wilde. For sure.  I love his philosophy and the fact that he loved words.  He understood decadance and how art is the best part of life.  I would like to sit with him in a cafe while he thought up a fairytale and I’d illustrate it with creepy puppets and shabby paint peeling sets.

    Most ridiculous object within your view right now?

    My new flip flops on my feet. they are covered in fake fur but they are summer sandals. giant and black. Makes my feet look like sasquatch. (chrysti’s note: she obviously doesn’t know about my huge aversion & distaste for…ick..feet.)

    You seem to have an affinity for bright feather boas, accessories, Neon wigs — i think i already know the value in those things – but would like to know how you see them – What’s the deal there?

        I love color. and in real life I dont get to ‘live’ that very much.  The self I want to be is much bigger than the little self I’ve been up untill now.  I also am not happy with my hair.  Its in the process of growing out too short layers in the front and instead of stressing over it on camera, hey heres a wig.  And Im instantly in another character. Im able to climb out of my role of all of my lables -italian girl from new jersey, etc etc…  I just want to be something bigger, you know? Not that I want attention – I want everyone to be bigger. I want more than just hey when ya gonna get married hey why dont you want a kid. I want a big giant life. I want to play. I want costumes and theater in my everyday. 

    Does anyone ever have a valid excuse for saying they can’t create?

    Nope.
    Watch
    My Left Foot.  True story, guy only had control over his one foot and the toes.  and he painted amazing portraits.  Although people are born with different levels of mechanical dexterity and imaginations, drawing can be taught, color theory can be taught, design, composition, all taught.  And if you are very clear and very honest, everyone has something to say.  Expression is part of being human.

    Through the giveaways, we’ve had some incredible discussions — some funny, some soul searching, and many focus on the role creativity plays in our life. What role does creating, and the creative process itself play in your life?

    Perhaps Im insane which can very well be true, but I cannot live withought the creative process being a big part of my day, every day.  Ive had ooh, quite a few jobs.  None lasted more than 2 weeks. If its not art and painting I am not interested and I’ll do whatever I can to avoid having to do what I don’t want to do. I’ve made it this far in my life and so far its worked out.  Granted, I’ve lived with cardboard boxes as tables and hand me down clothes for a very. very. long time – but during all that time I spent painting so what was around me wasnt important.  Even now, I’ve lived with my parents since March, before that I was on my own since I was 19. I can afford to move out and go to an apartment somewhere, but I dont want to waste any time buying food, paying bills, any of it. I just want to write my Petit Dolls book.  I like giving my dad my bank account and saying please, you take care of it. Make sure my student loans get paid. heres money for food. Just let me sit in my room and paint and write and deal with my students.  And so thats how I live my life.  And will always live my life.  I give up a lot for this, I really REALLY want a place of my own, but if you are clear about what you want what you really want, then it wont feel like a sacrifice.  I want to publish the best book ever.  I want to design the best classes ever.  The rest doesn’t matter. Thats how important creativity is in my life.

    What is one skill you hope to cultivate in the next year?

    Les Petit Art Dolls in clay. I want to take my paintings and bring them into the 3 Dimensional world.

    I have to ask – are you totally insane?(I only feel comfortable asking this, because I am! Ha!) Really, The Les Petite Dolls Workshop is A M A Z I N G. I didn’t think i could do faces, like ever… and I’m getting pretty darn good with them. Love that! But you don’t only teach how to do that – you teach collage, painting, some texture methods, one on one advice, beautiful and inspiring handouts, and a helluva lot more — at an incredibly low price. I love that you are so generous, and it’s part of why I so badly wanted to include you in this – you give back daily, and it’s refreshing. But I still want to know if you have lost you proverbial marbles!

    The most important thing is to have a good product. If you are going to sell something, whether its a thing or a service, you want your customer to feel like they have more than they can imagine. It is easy to put up a workshop.  Write a pdf or make a video and there you go.  But it can be cold.  And if there is one thing I stand for its the fact that Im very good at making people feel wanted.  Im a crappy hostess in that I can’t cook and I don’t like cleaning much, but if you were to come to my home you’d feel like a queen, each time. I respect women highly and I want them to feel special. So thats why there is so much.  This is also very new – a workshop can be A N Y T H I N G   we want it to be.  There is no limitations and so much potential.  Why not put the effort into it and make it a worthwhile experience.

    Also, a lot of the women in my classes are beginners when it comes to drawing in fact, in much of the mixed media community it seems there are scrapbookers and there are fine artists. For the trained artists it is easier for them to make the leap from pure collage to drawing a face and figure but for crafters, they are intimidated.  Thats why I put in so many encouraging pdfs about positive affirmations and things.  The crafters need to know that with just a little practice what I do is not that hard.  Although I do put in a lot of time into my paintings, I put in lots and lots of layers, they can too.  I cant stand elitist artists who say Well, you need to have a masters in Fine Art and some hoity toity pretencious artist statement before youre considered a real artist. Its crap and Im sick of it. So its my mission to turn all the crafters who want to make faces to be able to do so.  

    Also, as a business person – I know the value of an affordable workshop.  Up until August of this year I could never afford to take a workshop.  They are about 200.00 and often in far away places where i need to pay for a plane and hotel.  Way out of my reach.  But 55.00 is something most people can afford.  And if enough people join for that price it equals to the same amount I’d make if half the people joined for 100.00.  I want it to be accessable to anyone who is willing to learn.  And its my philosophy that what is good for all is better than just whats good for me.

    Do you have a favorite medium to work with? A least favorite?
     
    My problem is I want to do everything, which is why mixed media is fabulous.  You CAN do everything. you can mix fabric with paper and sewing and painting.  How incredible.  The least favorite thing I like to do would be…painting something entirely with paints. I dont like to do that. I like to do detail with pencils and then glaze paints over it.  If i had to just use paint 100 % I would cry.  I cant get fine lines like i do with pencil and that frustrates me. when Im frustrated art isnt fun.

    Since I’m a random question junkie – Roll the toothpaste from the bottom, or squeeze it in the middle?

    oh god, squeeze from the middle. 
    I put my toothpaste tube next to my moms and she rolls from the bottom and I always think oh, shes so perfect. there must
    be something wrong with me that I dont care about rolling and neatness. although I like things neat and to be around order, I
    wont give up my dreamy thoughts for long enough to take the time to roll, or fold, or iron, etc… I need to be less harsh on myself.

    Can you give us a peek at what else you have going on, and what suzi blu goodness is to come?

    This is a painting Im making for my friend Jared. Its a Petit Boy!

    Suzi Blus Petit Boy Jared

    Is it true you are giving away one membership to your Les Petite Dolls class workshop?(hell folks, I even hadda pay for mine — aren’t you lucky!!!) Are registrations still open for those who may not win? And it’s tradition here, that the guest gets to pick one of the questions the readers have to answer to win – so what would you like to know/read about from my readers?

    Yes I am giving away one Petit Dolls Membership to one of your readers! Their membership will be active from now unil March 2009, plenty of time to download the videos and PDF’s and email me for personal one to one help.  Since all of the videos are up registration is open until the day the workshop closes.  Its easy to download all of the video lessons and keep them on your computer to do at your convenience.

    The question I would like your readers to think about, is what is there art goal for 2009? What is the big dream – even if you cant make it come true this year, even if you are miles away from being able to do it, even if it seems impossible, what is it you want most to come true? Its really not as impossible as you think.  And 2009 could be the year you begin!

    Ok Lucky Creative Ones! To Enter Today’s Amazing giveaway:

    • Answer Suzi’s question: “what is your art goal for 2009? ” and/or answer mine.. “Roll the toothpaste from the bottom, or squeeze it in the middle?” …
    • If you are already enrolled for Suzi’s workshop, I’ll send you a free print of mine, and you can give the class to a friend – so no excuses NOT to enter kids!
    • Do this by: Sunday, December 21th, 2008
    • PLEASEkeep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works!
    •  Enter Day 0 & Day 6 & Day 7 & Day 8 & Day 9
    • Check out the first batch of winners!Some haven’t claimed their gifts! — ya better, fast!
    • Visit Suzi’s Blog, Suzi’s Academy, Suzi’s Etsy & Suzi’s Youtube Videos!

    Warmly, Chrysti

    Day 2/29 Days of Giving is…

    … are you having fun with the giveaways?

    Omigosh.. am. i. ever. … can’t you feel all that connects us?

    … I’ve found myself walking around the house singing & whistling

    I haven’t done that in ages …

    … I feel like anything and everything is suddenly possible

    like when you first saw the wizard of oz…

    …. and all that dreary gray; turned to this spectacular sort of vivid color

    pure. magic. …. who says it doesn’t exist?

    … sometimes, we just have to create magic for ourselves

    which is how I finally came to decide on this for today’s giveaway….

    … i’m kinda picking through the things i have based on my mood that day

    OK! OK! i’ll shush and get to it…

    … for the record – i prefer shush or be quiet etc. as opposed to ‘shut up’

    ‘shut up’ seems more offensive to me than most four letter words….

    …hmmm… wonder why?

    Oh… the giveaway…. !

     Calendar I am In!

    Cover image is by Karyn Gartel aka The Altered Diva. Note the phrase –
    “Delivered on the Wings of your DREAMS”

    Told ya it was the perfect fit for today – and not just because of that. Go ahead, Read On. 

    Collage, Artplay for Your Creative Spirit 2009 Wall Calendar

    As children, we play with art naturally, but somewhere along the way, most of us get the idea that only an elite group – artists – can be creative. The creative spirit lives inside each person, just waiting to be expressed. Collage, assemblage, and mixed media artwork are providing adventurous ways for people at every skill level to discover the joy that comes from imaginative self-expression.

    The Collage For Your Creative Spirit 2009 wall calendar features pieces by twelve accomplished collage artists, accompanied by text by Lunaea Weatherstone to get the viewer’s own creative juices flowing. The combination of practical suggestions and visual delights adds up to an exciting calendar that will intrigue, entertain, and most of all, inspire.

    The positive spirit that this artistic calendar puts forth is really what ‘gets’ to me. As many of you know, it is my mantra of sorts that anyone CAN and SHOULD create. (hmm, maybe that will be the slogan for my new site – thoughts?) The tips, suggestions, and messages each month truly ring home inside of me, and I hope that they will provide a similar feeling to you too. It’s far-to-friggin-easy to doubt our creative abilities, and lose sight of all the value that provides – This calendar, is a fantastic gentle reminder to keep that negativity in check and stick to the heart of the matter. Added Bonus? It inspires. My mind has already dreamt of whimsical new projects to start and explore creatively as a result of this.

    Plus, it’s pure eye candy. I mean, seriously – which one of us, isn’t a sucker for that?

    Did I mention the 12 gifted artists that Lunea Weatherstone brought into this project? Here’s the breakdown:

    Here’s a link back to last year, when I first announced that Lunea asked me to take part in this. They chose to use two of my skinny book pages that I had created for an article I did in Cloth, Paper, Scissors. All in all, the entire book has 20 some pages – that I created it in under a week; actually, I think it was just in a few days. (When Pokey said jump, I said how high!) All kidding aside – I work best under that kind of pressure. I won’t begin to tell you the hours I spent or just how much of myself – you know, my real self – my soul –  poured into that book. It’s still here. I haven’t evolved enough yet to let that book go! (FYI, I totally stole that last line from Susan Tuttle… you’ll understand in a few days. *wink*.) I titled the book, ‘ A work in Progress’ because I felt it was somehow unfinished. That I’m somehow unfinished. People, things, personalities, our art… always evolve; in some ways we are all works in progress.

    So, before I spend a year telling you every little mundane detail about it… all I really wanted to say is that I was mesmerized by how the folks at Amber Lotus transformed it. They took two seperate pages, and made it appear to be a singular spread – wicked eh? I’ll be sure to try and get a good pic of my page in the calendar soon and add it to this post & my flickr.

    "A Work In Progress" Skinny Book- Pages 3 & 4

    Speaking of Flickr — you can see the skinny book in it’s entirety simply by clicking here – I scanned it all in today. If you see the old photos, you’ll understand why that thrills me. Simple Pleasures!

    If you hadn’t already guessed, I’m giving away a copy of the calendar today. If more than 100 people comment to win, I’ll give away not one, but two copies! Upon your request, I’ll gladly open it and inscribe/sign my lil’ month of November. The month of gratitude. Fitting isn’t it?

    Reading your answers to various questions I’ve asked, gives me so much joy. I laugh, I cry, I think. It makes blogging seem less about me, and more about you. Kinda like we’re all sitting on these exquisitely worn, handmade rockers, drinking tea on a massive front porch in the middle of nowhere: just chit-chatting away.

    Beautiful. Just. Beautiful.

    Alright you creative lovelies – to enter today’s giveaway:

    • Leave a comment on this post, answering one ( or both ) of these questions “How have you indulged your creative spirit today, if you haven’t – why not?” and/or “What is the most odd item within your reach right now?” If you totally don’t like those questions, then just tell me your favorite month!
    • Do this by: Tuesday, December 9th. Winner or Winners will be announced then!
    • If you haven’t already you can enter to win Day 1 Here and Tell me your wish here and you may win that too or a $100.00 Gift Certificate to my new site!

    Just because it’s inevitable I’ll be asked: I have a handful of these calendars left in my store, that upon request & purchase I can inscribe/sign for you. Otherwise, Amazon has them in stock too!

    Thanks – to each and every one of you for brightening my life and showing me the magic this holiday season! Warmly,
    Chrysti

    Spring, Serendipity & Supplies

    Sidenote: Well, the blog revamp is by no means finished, but it’s coming along bit-by-bit as you can see. The only thing keeping me from finishing it, is this pesky thing of only 24 hours in a day, I swear.. who thought of this annoyance?

    “Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.”
    -Erich Fromm
     
    As I opened my windows today to enjoy the fresh air that spring ushers in; a pleasant coincidence occurred to me: my looooong overdue blog rebirth is coinciding with Spring.

    I absolutely love that.

    I mean, I really just LOVE that.

    And better yet? While I was standing in the window, admiring the new blooms in my yard.. Inspiration struck me! I discovered a new color scheme, for a piece I started over 2 years ago… and was simply, well… blocked on. How fortunate to see that come to an end!

    Serendipity at it’s finest. I just had to take a moment to savor it.

    “Worldly influences, feminine details and cleansing colors of spring will encourage women to discover something new.”
    – Marla Shavin

    Since we’re speaking of Spring; I should mention that yesterday I got hit smack-over-the-head by the color fairy. She forced me to go shopping (must do my part for the economy after all) … and treat myself to some Yummy (note the captiol Y) new spring inspired supplies. I dutifully headed over to Panopolie and found some lush new papers, felted balls, wool roving, and an assortment of other delightful goodies. Pure Bliss! Just a visit to the store is enough to perk me up; as it’s fresh, funky and utterly exquisite on the inside. I’ll have to snap some photos one day, with their permission of course, for y’all to see. It’s close to heaven!

    To make an already perfect afternoon… well, even better … a pit stop at World Market  proved to be a most surprising artful score! I made out with some sublime handmade papers, itsy-bitsy mini journals, handmade paper scrolls.. all uber-cheap. Just goes to show that the best supplies,  are usually where you least expect to find them. Unless of course, you’re looking at my store. Ok, that’s just shameless. I should stop before i go on!

    I am beyond grateful I have y’all to share this with. You ‘get’ it. Everyone else in my life would look at me and go “huh?” as i gushed over these things. I’d love to hear what colorful surprises spring is bringing your way too! Go on, hit that pesky lil’ comment button to share.

    Artfully Yours,
    Chrysti

    Song of the Day: KT Tunstall – Suddenly I See
    Random Fact of the Day : Origin of the word serendipity.

    Tag Fun w/ Max & Bella

    Tag, You're It!

    I always love a good mail day, especially when anything paper is involved!

    I ordered these tags through Max & Bella as a final touch to my packaging for The Altered Abbey.. and boy am I ever pleased! Though I added the ribbons and holes myself (a fun activity to do while watching tv) … having them design, print & punch these was a HUGE timesaver this month.. and I’m ever so grateful! While I intend to design and print my own in the long run, It’s nice to know in a pinch I can get some quality goods from an indie site.

    Max & Bella offers a great variety of classy paper fun.. so send them some love!

    Keep in mind I dunno them at all, just a happy customer!

    Tag -You’re It!

    Chrysti

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