33 Artistic & Free Social Media Icon Sets

This post has MOVED to my new blog!

You can find it below:

http://alwayschrysti.com/always-chrysti/2010/3/9/33-artistic-free-social-media-icon-sets.html

Advertisements

35+ Stunning & Free Bokeh Textures

This post has MOVED to my new blog!

You can find it by clicking below:

http://alwayschrysti.com/always-chrysti/2010/2/5/35-stunning-free-bokeh-textures.html

Day 21/29 Days of Giving is…

I My Neurotic Dogs. (that’s them in the youtube clip!)

I Giveaways.

I  Paper.

I  Collage.

I  Creativity.

I Books.

I  You.

I Insightful Blog Posts that dance gloriously with pretty words and days with enough time to type & format them.

This, my friends is not one of those days.

From the bottom of this lil’   , sowwy.

I did however need to resume the giveaways for my sanity, and after I do this one … rest assured I’ll be working on formatting the remaining ones! Artist interviews – who donated amazing giveaways, some tied with swaps, magazines, prints and more!

Soooooo .. in the spirit of things I   …..Is today’s giveaway – this delightful book: Layers: Inspired Collage for Paper Projects with Meaning

33457

Cutting-edge skills for sophisticated paper art designs!

*A primer on the hottest techniques that will appeal to scrapbookers, cardmakers, rubberstampers, and all papercrafters *Allows crafts to create amazing effects using collage, torn papers, embellishments, and cherished photos and quotes *Hundreds of tips and tricks reveal how to get remarkable results every time Today’s paper art magazines showcase intricate layered pieces yet give little instruction on how to do it. Finally, Layers teaches papercrafters the skills they need to make these stylish projects. Expert designer Shari Carroll provides simple step-by-step directions for the latest paper techniques, including distressing, sewing, transfers, and much more. Readers receive a variety of ideas ranging from a wall hanging scrapbook page and an art journal to a collage book and CD book cover. Included are stunning examples of Carroll’s own collage work, each of which feature unique and personal messages. She first shares details on what inspired each piece, then offers readers suggestions for customizing their own pieces.

A member of the design team for Hero Arts Rubber Stamps, Shari Carroll has also created projects for Polyform, My Sentiments Exactly, and Hanko Designs. Her work has been featured in such national magazines as Somerset Studio, Memory Makers, and The Rubber Stamper as well as the upcoming book Designing with Stamps.

Do you   your chance at this too? Then just…

 

  • On this post; in the comments – answer one or more of these questions: Tell us what you   and/or give me a great excuse as to why I keep letting this slip, one too many days
  • Do this by: Friday, February 28th, 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,  third batch of winners anddddd the fourth batch of winners!
  •  

      fully yours, Chrysti

    Day 20/29 Days of Giving is…

    So. Um. Yeah.

    I totally lost track that Friday was indeed Friday, and here we are on Sunday doing what should have been up on Friday, despite realizing on Saturday that Friday had indeed past, and, well … can we just pretend it’s Friday?( I’ll forever wonder how that happens; how days tend to run into themselves and so on… the older I become, the more frequently this seems to happen. I can’t be the only one this phenomenon occurs with…am I?) Oh –  Back to the whole pretending thing – we’re now officially pretending it’s Friday … you just arrived here, totally psyched for the weekend and a giveaway… woo-hoooo!

    Go ahead — do the lil’ woo-hoo thing out loud.

    Ya know you wanna.

    Aw c’mon — just SHOUT it – wooo – hoooo!

    { Sorry, there I go rambling. A-gain. }

    Wreck This Journal - In Progress

    Psssssst…

    I’m going to divulge a wee-lil’-secret about moi.

    Though, y’all prolly have figured this out by now.

    Heck, I’ve probably mentioned it.

    You see, I’m incredibly anal.

    Yes, my name is Chrysti – and I’m a perfectionist-aholic.

    I believe, and thrive on the fact… that everything has its has place.

    Oddly though, I’m not very uptight personality wise. It takes alot to offend me, and when I work, paint, cook, create… I’m messy as all hell. I just tend to need it all tidy before I can begin. Strange isn’t it?

    Wreck This Journal - In Progress

    Worse yet, I enjoy making a huge mess. To be free. To create without constraints, to deconstruct – and I love; I abso-friggin’-lutley love, love, love demolition. Have cabinets you need smashed? Gimme a call!

    Maybe I have some hidden anger issues or sumthin’..who knows, who cares! It’s fun!

    It is my firm belief that this is an essential trait to creating of any kind — the willingness to let go, and not merely the willingness but the desire to make things – well, ugly. Yes! U-G-L-Y.  You know – To not analyze, to learn to tap into that unconscious part of your brain where you really focus on the process. Gosh, don’t you ever just want to stop thinking, be fabulously mindless and genuinely live in an artistic  moment? Don’t worry about how you measure up…. just create simply and purely because you love to..and for some of you, because you have some misguided notion that you can’t. We’re all creative. It is just a matter of acknowledging that, and accepting it.

    I should be clear about this, as it’s where I seem to differ from lots of folks -I have no trouble with letting go, and just trying something.  I rarely hit those creativity blocks lots of folks speak of, the pressing issue for me is typically whether or not I can justify the time to haphazardly create with reckless abandonment. I hardly ever give myself  the permission to just… play. I need an excuse, some sort of  mythical ‘purpose’ .

    Enter this glorious book that I discovered last year:

     Wreck This Journal: by Keri Smith

    For anyone who’s ever wished to, but had trouble starting, keeping, or finishing a journal or sketchbook comes Wreck This Journal, an illustrated book that features a subversive collection of prompts, asking readers to muster up their best mistake- and mess-making abilities to fill the pages of the book (and destroy them). Acclaimed illustrator Keri Smith encourages journalers to engage in “destructive” acts-poking holes through pages, adding photos and defacing them, painting with coffee, and more-in order to experience the true creative process. Readers discover a new way of art and journal making-and new ways to escape the fear of the blank page and fully engage in the creative process.

    I love making the time to work in this book. I love that I can spend just a few minutes adding to it. I love that I am letting it be horridly ugly. I love the release I obtain after an exercise in it. Forget therapy kids – just wreck a journal!  The plan, for me is this: Once I have totally uglified all the pages – I shall then challenge myself to make them pretty, because I love a challenge – only to destroy it again. It’ll be interesting to see how I do deconstructing something I will one day (hopefully) adore.

    Dontcha wanna take this journey with me? One of you definitely will be as it’s the giveaway for the day!

    Wreck This Journal - In Progress

    While I could go on & on singing the praises and benefits of creating in a reckless manor- and I plan to, in a later post after the giveaways – I thought I’d intrigue you today by showing you some of my pages throughout this post, and pointing in you the direction of other inspiring pages and videos that will have you wanting this faster than you can say beetle. (no, i have no idea why I chose the beetle there, i know, i’m nuts)

    Check out this video I found on youtube  for an even better idea of what is inside this book – you’ll need an idea of this to enter the giveaway!  Ohhhh… I nearly forgot – I have a bit of exciting news! I ordered a video camera, that should be arriving this week (hello online workshops) – so look forward to seeing a video of some of my ventures with this fabulous book too!

    So to enter today’s super-fab giveaway:

    • On this post; in the comments – answer one or more of these questions: Tell us one way – no matter how crazy – you can think of to wreck a journal pageif you’re afraid to do this, then share why!
    • Do this by: Sunday, January 31st, 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,  third batch of winners anddddd the fourth batch of winners!

    Recklessly yours, Chrysti

    {P.S. Speaking of perfectionistic. It’s KILLING me not to go edit this post and re-word it right now. I am intentionally leaving my writing..well, messy too. Ick. Yuck. Someone take my mouse before I fix it all…. HURRY!}

    Day 19/29 Days of Giving is…

    shhhh…

    Hey! I heard that…

    as i said… shhhhh….

    lean in a lil…

    not THAT close!

    ah better… thank you.

    You see, I have a little secret to tell each of you.

    Let’s just keep it between us shall we?

    When it comes to donating, I find that I am not really drawn to the corporate type non-profits. In my (possibly warped) mind …big organizations tend to have equally big patrons; and while I don’t dispute their value or necessity in society, I rarely enjoy giving to those causes. It has somehow become so terribly impersonal and I cultivate relationships with value in my life… I don’t just want to be another name on yet another list. (Isn’t that just a touch horrible of moi?) Subsequently, I like knowing where my hard-earned dollars go, and often with those places – it’s a big ol’ mystery that feels unappreciated.

    There are so many people who fight for awareness on the ‘big’ issues- as there should be, after-all they are causes for a reason. However, as someone living with not so common issues (Bipolar Disorder, Tourettes Syndrome) I am understandably drawn to a different sort of genre. The people who fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. The person who doesn’t make little enough to receive assistance, but doesn’t make quite enough to meet their bills some months.  That sorta thing. Who represents that crowd? The crowd most of us fall into, or have at least been in at some point within our lives.

    sawmillstrays5

     What gets to me – what really gets to me – are everyday heroes. Seemingly ordinary folks – like you & I … giving of their time, their belongings, their skills towards a common cause or a goal. Communities who rise together and help an ailing neighbor, or a group of children in need of a place to play. A mother who organizes a picnic for their child’s teacher who was unfairly let go. The people that spur hope at every turn.  I want to know the individual stories behind the illnesses we rally to fight against. I like a face to a name. I am inspired by those who not only hold onto hope, but fight for hope – even in the most dire of circumstances.

    Sob stories, and a woe is me attitude? … do nothing but infuriate me. They are a dime a dozen these days, and more often than not have that boy-who-cried-wolf feeling to me. If I have learned only one thing in this life – it’s this: We may not be able to control the things that happen to us , or around us in life – but we CAN control how we react to them. We can choose to see the light, even on the darkest of the days … and if there truly is no glimmer of light, we can somehow…find a way to embrace the darkness. To walk through it. We can control our reactions, and our attitudes. As someone living with a mental illness – I can attest to just how difficult this can be some days – and yet it’s still a possibility. I love possibilities, don’t you?

    sample2

    I love helping people who choose to take action in their lives. Today’s giveaways (yes multiple ones – woo!) … both stem from two people I believe are everyday heroes; and I hope you are at the least… just a touch moved by them too. Additionally, I am doing something I almost never do too – asking a favor of you. – If you are at all touched by these women, would you consider helping their causes? If you can’t help financially consider promoting this on your own blog, websites and twitter.

    Sidenote: Please know, if you can’t it’s okay too – there are still giveaways I’d love for you to enter, and noone will think less of you. I want each of you to give with intent, and authenticity – and would never put pressure on you to do so. It’s a personal choice and one that I happily respect!

    Giveaway/Story # 1:

    sawmillstrays6

    One of the most generous artists  I have met online (and in person last summer!) is Donna Cook. I swear folks — this woman is always helping people, giving of herself  in her everyday life, as well as online — she is just one of those special  people that lives her life in a manner we all aspire to. A true, generous soul… and I feel blessed to have met her. She is one of those everyday heroes I spoke of, and takes action – as well as the woman she is helping.

    She recently has been trying to help ‘Save the Sawmill Strays’ . Her story reached me on a multiple of levels, and I felt a compulsion to try to help. I donated the lil’ bit of money I could, and am trying to spread the word… as an animal lover, and someone who once loved doing work camps … perhaps, I just found this oh-so-relatable. I’ll show you an excerpt of her story here, but i encourage you to click through to the blog she set up, and page through all the posts. I have a feeling you will be as touched as I was… and just a dollar or two, would go a LONG way in  this project. Nothing would make me happier, than seeing her reach her goal!

    Here’s a tiny excerpt of their story — but you REALLY need to go read the backstory too to understand.

     My wildest dream is for Bev to be able to start a No-Kill Shelter. That’s my wild dream and maybe her’s as well, but what she wants to do right now is spay and neuter the 4 adult dogs as soon as possible, and then generate some income to have the pups spay and neutered when they are old enough. Maybe out of this will grow the dream of a No-kill shelter. Perhaps in our semi-wild dreams we can generate income to build some additional kennels on Bev’s lease, so that these animals can stay safe.

    We are hoping that animal lovers all over the world will help us with a donation to our “Chip-In” account. I trust Bev, but you all don’t know her. I am hoping that those of you I have met “on-line” will trust me.

    She has discovered a local source that will assist low income families in paying for spay and neutering services. My plan is to work with Bev, sending her payment for the first surgery and then additional payments after she sends the receipt for the previous surgery. This may not really be necessary, but I wanted the internet community to know that I am making every effort to insure that the money goes for the animals. I know that Bev will use it for the animals. I’m hoping in my wild dreams, for enough money to help build a few more kennels.

    In an effort to help them both, and the poor animals that Bev saved — I am offering up a free colored digital collage sheet of choice  (except the inching along sheet) to anyone who donates at least $1.50 to her cause. and anyone can enter to win my giveaway, which is 10 ..count em 10… printed collage sheets (my choice) and 1 digi sheet of your choice (except the inching along sheet)– so even if you can’t contribute, you can still win. Let Donna know when you chip in, you want a collage sheet or let me know that you donated, and I’ll check with her. Chip In by clicking here! Donna doesn’t even know I am doing this yet — How fun!

    Giveaway/Story # 2:

    ribbons 

    A little while back I was approached by Kary to use one of my free  for personal use only textures  in a digital scrapbooking kit she created.; ordinarily I wouldn’t allow a commercial use … but this time? I was moved. 

    Here, read why…

    This year I made the commitment to walk nearly 80 miles over the course of two weekends as a participant in two Avon Walk for Breast Cancer events. I will walk in Houston Texas the weekend of April 4, 2009 and again in Chicago Illinois during the weekend of June 7. I am excited, nervous and honored to be walking with so many others who have also made this amazing commitment to help raise awareness and funds for this devastating disease. I lost my own mother to breast cancer almost 18 years ago to breast cancer; I miss her very much and miss having a “mom” to share my life with and talk to. I wanted to honor her and DO something to make a difference in the lives of others who are living with and fighting this battle. Funds raised for the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade support their mission of providing access to care for individuals who cant afford it, and in finding a cure.

    As a computer teacher and digital artist, I thought one way I could use my unique talents was to design and sell a digital scrapbooking kit. The kits theme is primarily geared towards the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, as I thought it could be used by anyone participating in the walks across the country to help document their journey before, during and after their walk. But I purposely made the kit very large so anyone who purchased it could easily use it in his or her own digital scrapbooking layouts. 100% of the net profits of the sale of this kit will go towards the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

    I love the personal meaning behind this – and it’s a great example that some bigger causes, know how to still stay personal. This kit folks? Is AMAZING! Seriously — look at what all you get… then look how little it costs!  

    • 12 pieces of digital scrapbook paper – each is 300 dpi and 12×12 in size. Papers come in a variety of patterns and shades of pink
    • 6  “torn edge” brushes for Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. These brushes can help you achieve a simple torn edge on your digi paper
    •  9 vintage inspired photo frames
    • 3 sets of complete alphabets that include lower and upper case letters, numbers and special characters. The three styles of alphabets are GLITTER TEXT (73 characters in all), PINK METAL TEXT (97 characters) and PINK PLASTIC TEXT (98 characters).
    • One set of rubber stamp alphabet brushes for Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. For those using other programs, I have also included the PNG version of this alphabet
    • Two glitter borders (each 12×12) and one glitter background (slightly smaller than the page)
    • Four glitter hearts and three glitter swirl flourishes to accent photographs are other parts of your page
    • Four felt hearts, one sewn felt heart assemblage and one felt star
    • Three cut out flowers with “deep” drop shadows
    • One Queen of Hearts playing card
    • Sixteen tags with and without “hangers” in four colors
    • Two staples and one stitch to “attach” your tags to your page
    • Seven journaling tags
    • Thirteen ribbons in various styles and shades of pink. Ribbon styles include gingham, grosgrain, silver lame, satin and “word” ribbons that commemorate the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
    •  Two bows
    •  One “pink ribbon”
    •  One chrome metal “pink ribbon”
    •  Six pink beads
    • Eleven sequins in various shapes and shades of pink
    • Four buttons – two of which are sewn
    • One chalked edge word art “Pretty in Pink”
    •  Over 230 digital stickers that includes: All the host cities for the Avon Walk (Houston, LA, San Fran, Chicago, Charlotte, Rocky Mtns, DC, Boston, NYC), stickers commemorating the Avon Walk (We Walk as One, etc.) stickers with a “pink” theme (Pink Ladies, Pink Power, etc.) and tons of stars, hearts, flowers, crowns and “pink ribbons”

    ALL of that for just $8.00. I plan to purchase one myself in the next few days… I’m not a digital scrapbooker, nor will I be walking — but I can use these graphics (the vintage frames alone look amazing !), and papers in my digital art. I’m more than happy helping her fulfill her goal! Will you consider purchasing one too?

    The kit is currently for sale on Etsy as a digital download . If someone prefers to have the kit mailed to them on a CD, they can visit her site where they can email her to make arrangements. All of the additional pics of the kit are there as well.

    Did I mention, she is also giving 1 of you a kit for free? How exciting!

    So to enter today’s giveaways:

    Which as a reminder are.. 10 ..count em 10… printed collage sheets of mine (my choice) and 1 digi sheet of your choice except the inching along sheet– and another person will win one of the beautiful scrapbooking kits!

  • On this post; in the comments – answer one or more of these questions: Either tell us about your favorite cause or everyday hero or just tell me what 2+2 is ! 
  • 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 & Day 16 & Day 17  & Day 18 still!
  • Check out the first batch of winners, the second batch of winners and the third batch of winners!
  • Donate what you can to save The Sawmill Strays — remember just $1.50 will get you a free digital collage sheet of your choice!
  • Purchase the Beautiful Digi Pink Kit and help Kary honor her mom.
  • Whew! I promise not to be so long-winded tomorrow, and to lighten the posts up a bit again! And quite possibly come back to  edit this post, so it’s more clear — I’m totally crosseyed at the moment!

    Thanks to all who take part in these giveaways, and an extra thanks to those who do me the personal favor, of helping out where they can. It means the world to me.

    Chrysti

    Day 17/29 Days of Giving is…

    so um .

    *looks around nervously*

    yeah, the time i allotted to write this post?

    it’s gone. burned up. deceased. vanished. taken flight.  down the drain. extinct. disintegrated into the vast emptiness of the world around us. spent. no more. nada.

    it just, well in the words of a 3 year old. .. went bye-bye ….

    yup. yours truly spent over 2 hours searching for these damn darn pics

    that you shall see adorning today’s post

     (you better like ’em or at least pretend to! )

    and i best finish organizing all these old files

    (over 100,000 of them – you’d procrastinate too)

    scattered across 3 friggin’ computers …

    talk about poor time management and inefficiency

    sheesh! bad chrysti!

    so as you may have now guessed

    there won’t be much writing accompanying this post

    unless of course i start rambling

    which lets face it … tends to happen alot

    sowwy.

    MMSP

    SO (she tries to state in an eloquent non-rambling, reader’s digest sorta way) today’s giveaway, is one you should be familar with already since it was the Day 1 giveaway too!. I HIGHLY recommend you go back to that post and check out the interview I did with Cate, and read the AMAZING discussions that took place in the comments. True inspiration and eye-openers there.  In the near future, I plan to elaborate on some of your remarks as well – it fascinates me!

    I told ya, y’all inspire me daily. Love that.

     Moving on … if you took my advice, and re-read Day 1 … then you’ll know I was honored to be a part of a truly inspiring, and groundbreaking book  last year: Mixed-Media Self Portraits.  In it, I teach you how to create your own self-portrait assemblage, sculpture mask. (it’s alot easier than you think) A super cool background technique, the mask itself..and more. I talk (very personally) about what brought me to creating them. Why I create them, and why i want you to create them.

    I’m interested in those of you that may have this book already – what did you think of my piece? Have you tried it? If not, why not? It’s truly not as complex as it seems in print. Claustrophobia isn’t an excuse either – I get panic attacks easily when confined, and actually did a-ok making these. On my own I may add and with no help. (said in my big girl voice) Though admittely, it’d be more fun with a friend. Pair up Ladies!

    but here.. take a look at a few in-progress shots as I worked on them…

    MMSP

    Chrysti - Plastered

    MMSP

    Proof I indeed went outside like this!

    MMSP

    Saran Wrap + Vaseline makes for a hot head of hair.

     I want to see YOU like this. Yes – YOU! I want to see artists everywhere slathered in plaster and exploring a medium they may not be used to. I want you to expand your creative horizons – and see what happens as a result. What have you got to lose?

    My entire purpose with this project was to challenge not only  myself but to challenge you. It was to create a self-portrait that captured who I was on the inside (and the many moods i experience)– with a loose, rough, raw abstract form. I wanted to teach a mixed-media project that you don’t see very often. I wanted to get to know myself better, I craved a bit of that oh-so-awkward-uncomfortable-squirmy feeling to work with, as it’s usually where I make the most profound insights.

    I also found a few detail shots of the masks featured in the book, someday I’ll get the rest of the shots up too… the quote at the top of the post is part of the mask ‘raw’ … and here’s a few other shots for your viewing pleasure …

    MMSP

    MMSP

    MMSP

    MMSP

    MMSP

    I want to know your honest thoughts – constructive criticism included – let me have them, and you  just may win a copy of Mixed-Media Self Portraits yourself! One person will win a copy, with my project signed… and if my studio sale pieces on etsy sell out this week – I’ll order another copy for another lucky receipent or two – you never know just what I’ll do! Heck, I don’t even know what I’ll do half the time… 

    To enter today simply…

  • On this post; in the comments answer one or more of these questions: What stops you from making your own Self-Portrait Mask?” or if you have created one tell me how the experience was for you  or what you thought of my piece, these glimpses – ie feedback folks!  Extra Credit if you tell me how hot i look smothered in plaster & vaseline. It’s the stuff fantasies are made of kids! (god i hope not) 
  • 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 & Day 16 still!
  • Check out the first batch of winners, the second batch of winners and the third batch of winners!
  • Review, or Buy Mixed-media Self-Portraits if you haven’t already too! (I know, shameless) Enter even if you have it — you can pass it on to someone else!
  • Sincerely, The plastered Chrysti

    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