Day 15/29 Days of Giving is…

“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.” -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I’m keeping it short & simple tonight folks! Have a few small orders to get packed & shipped out and a laundry list of to-do’s that need tackling before I go home for the holidays.

As a quick FYI and almost shameless plug, it’s the last 24 hours to order from my store and have it shipped before I leave… I haven’t advertised yet that I am basically going out of business – so grab what you want now, before I promote it – more will be added as time permits too. If you do make an order tonight/tomorrow I’ll also email you another collage sheet from here upon request. Just sweetening the pot!I’m in the process of converting all the collage sheets I formerly sold (before my 2 good printers passed on to wherever it is printers go when they die)… to be sold as my line of print-your-own digital collage sheets .. anyway …. while working on this tonight I thought what a simple giveaway that EVERYONE can receive! Love that.

My cat is so cute when she snores. Yeah, I know – nothin’ to do with this. Just sayin’!

I’m giving you a plethora of choices, so pick your favorite by name and let me know what it is in the comments section – be sure to use a valid email address or you won’t receive it! You will also need the free Adobe Reader to open these.

I’m only sending these out until Sunday – so act fast if you want one!

Pick any collage sheet from this set of mine on flickr EXCEPT the Inching Along series. Sorry, it’s not eligible.

Let’s recap:
  • On this post in the comments section – let me know which collage sheet you want. Nothin’ else tonight – since I’m taking the easy road, I’m letting you take it too! But feel free to share if you’d like!
  • Do this by: Sunday, December 21th, 2008 – emails & comments received after that, will not be honored.
  • 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 0Day 10 & Day 11 & Day 12 & Day 13 & Day 14
  • Check out the first batch of winners!
  • Check out  second batch of winners! Is it you?
  •       “One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” -unknown

    You can also check out the free vintage images & textures I have on flickr for you – I’m gonna be moving most of them off there in the upcoming months so keep that in mind and snatch ’em while ya can!

    Warmly, Chrysti

    Day 11/29 Days of Giving is…

    {Clunk}

     

    {Clunk} {Clunk} {Clunk}

    {kerplunkety clunk}

    clunkity.

    clunk clunk

    clllllllllllunk.

     ;hipwr8in blxjnhsldn;knnkf;LKsan;n xkl;cljkbajhnsbn xcn clmkn;kLCnmzs;KJND/.;, .lnmkljkdnh;oahoeij;qkmlwjpj819698e,kbn3li8s80pljn3 97x o03w93-3-3=-3c i mjksnlksjhudoipw[olwk c3-jdhsohopaihipowhpahsohi;oijhp’ji’p;jio’ipjdipu87whbhls

    OWWWWWWWWWW! Ow. Ow. Ow.

    It is SO not enjoyable when your head hits the keyboard. Stupid sheer exhaustion.

    Ow.

    So um, yeah. Let’s just Fast Forward to the giveaway. Before my head starts clunking some more. Shall we?

    Since one contributor to my extreme sleepiness is stocking the clearance/going out of business stuff at my soon to be defunct store, I’m just gonna pull prizes from there. Oh! I did fire my webhost since they had my site down for over a week during what should have been the busiest time of year. Giving GoDaddy a try now, and so far so good. Anyway…..

    I love me some easy-peasy-thank-heavens-its-a-no-brainer-cause-im-fried stuff.

    http://97.74.92.166/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=167_169_241&products_id=432

    Low Res Pic, Pro Quality prints. Other Choices for Winner too!

    Low Res Pics, Sets are all Pro Quality

    The winners (I’ll draw 3 – yes 3! names)… errrrr… prize recipients will get their choice of  4 8×10 or 5×7 Vintage or Pop prints in stock from my store… Those are just 2 of the choices — there’s a ton of other sets at my store to choose from too. Whee!

    And yeah, I’m busted. I’m sick of the room they take up on my shelves here – and moving ’em on out. Pricing at cost, and giving away some too — what fun!

    All ya gotta do is….

    • Answer this: “When you’re exhausted beyond comprehension, how do you perk up when things MUST get done” and/or Tell me some of the stupid/silly things you have done in delirium. I swear I never once walked outside ready to walk the dog naked. Nope, not me.
    • 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 6 & Day 7 & Day 8 & Day 9 & Day 10
    • Check out the first batch of winners!

    The exhausted, Chrysti

    Day 8/29 Days of Giving is…

    a red-bellied woodpecker …

    … in playful prose

    with organic enclosure …

    … evoking misunderstood harmony

    culminating iridescent root …

    … blinding enchantment takes flight

    {no, this fever hasn’t made me delirious yet – keep reading silly!}

    billowy seams frolick …

    … wondrous carousels aplenty

    rhythmic howling prevails ….

    …  a nantucket gazelle, flushed

    looser lighter silhouettes ….

    … whisper of metallic hues

    { welcome to my collection of words }

    Do you think that resembles poetry? Would you believe me if I told you it took me 2.5 minutes to type that, as I merely glanced through my collection of words. I allowed them to take flight and come together in their own unique way. I didn’t think about how it would sound, I didn’t care if it made sense. I sought the imagery. I craved the omigosh-im-flloating-above-the-world-anything-is-possible feeling they leave me with. I wanted my tongue to dance as they were spoken. Tell me, in your view – did I achieve that?

     Poemcrazy Journal - p. 10

    That journal entry was created in the same way. It Reads:

     there – it embraces
    twirling, standing,

        fal

               ling

    still as night
    the cat creeps
    shedding uneasiness
    acquiring infinity

    within one, single

    glimmering

    breath.
    ———————

     spirit rejuvenated
    in playful prose
    the tailor, the baker
    & the carpenters wife exit

    veiled insolence

                                                     awakens innocence

    as the fieldmouse

                     sings.

     I am often astounded by those who don’t see the art within words. The magic they create. The vivid images they arouse in our minds.

    Words, are an invaluable creative tool.

    You don’t have to consider yourself a writer, to use them. To be inspired by them. To collect them.

    I collect words. Do you?

    poemcrazy

    Today’s giveaway is (you may have guessed it),  one of my favorite books – Poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Woolridge. Regretfully, it’s not a signed copy – while I probably could have written her & asked, I was far too excited and hopelessly impatient (yes, i am THAT girl who peeks at gifts if given the chance) to share and opted to purchase a copy of this for the winner. That’s love folks.

    Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words: invites the readers into a realm where poetry is accessible, where poems are moments of discovery that often arrive unexpectedly (in parking lots, at the grocery store, on walks) and makes ordinary lives extraordinary.

     Susan Wooldridge plays with language as she shows how to create “wordpools”, helping the reader to understand that we are all immersed in an ocean of words used but largely ignored. The reader learns to create images, begins to develop metaphor, and gradually moves into “dreamsense” where an exploration of who we are in poems carries us to deeper levels within.

    Wooldridge shares stories of how she and others discovered their own poems through delightful and often amusing vignettes of her life and experiences as a writer. In practice sessions through Poemcrazy, Wooldridge demonstrates how to craft poems using a poet’s tools such as journal writing, imagery, comparison, exaggeration, awareness of detail, and playful juxtaposition. Poemcrazy is a wonderfully original and motivating addition to any literary or writer’s reference shelf! — Midwest Book Review

    I want each & every one of you to find a way to be mesmerized by language. words. letters. I want you to experiment without fear. I want you to put them together, and take them apart. I want you to open your eyes to the world that surrounds you – and look, reallllllly look at the words you could be collecting. The words you should be collecting. I want you to see the difference within your creative ventures once you do.

    I want you to play. To collect words. To be inspired.

    This book is nothing shy of inspiring. It’s for those who write. It’s for those who think they can’t write. It’s for those who aren’t inspired to write. It’s for those who have no time. It’s for those who have all the time in the world. It’s for anyone. There is something within these pages – that will free you from any creative stumbling block you may encounter.

    Poemcrazy Journal - p. 6

    It will change how you see yourself. How you see the world that so gloriously surrounds you. You will breathe it in and savor it. It won’t be a chore. You will be grateful, that you can honor your creativity in a minute. Maybe two. Maybe longer. That’s the beauty of it – it’s up to you.

    It’s late, I’m exhausted – and I find it ironic that the giveaway dealing with writing – is perhaps, one of my worst written entries ever. Ah life, gotta love it! It should however tell you, just how excited I am to share this. To buy one of you a copy.

    To inspire each of you, to start a journal with your collection of words too. You can see mine here.

    Ok my lil’ wordsmiths to enter today’s fabulous giveaway:

    • Leave a comment on this post listing some random pretty words. That’s it. Words you like. Descriptive words. Moving Words. Humorous words. Elaborate words or Simple words. They can make all the sense in the world. They can make no sense at all. Just leave me lots of pretty words that I can add to my collection.
    • and/or If your feeling chattier: tell me how words play a part in your life – good, or bad.
    • Do this by: Monday, December 15th
    • Don’t forget to spread the word. (ha – a pun!)
    •  Enter Day 0 & Day 6 & Day 7
    • Check out the first batch of winners!

    Wishing each of you effervescent mocha dreams, Chrysti

    Day 6/29 Days of Giving is…

    while I have a looooong list of potential giveaway items for you…

    …each day i am choosing whatever seems to suits my mood

    or I feel somehow inspired to talk about on that particular day…

    … yet, all day I have been fighting with the annoying gods of indecision

    which probably has more to do with the fact that I want to be in my studio

    creating one pretty lil mess after another

    i’m also exhausted….

    …and that big cozy chair I showed you yesterday in my studio?

    I’m dying to curl up in it and read a good book ….

    … with the cozy crocheted blanket one of my oldest and dearest friends made

    she made it just for me…lil ol’ me!

    .. doesn’t it just warm your heart, when someone puts that much love

    and precious time into a gift created especially for you? …

    handmade gifts really are the best

    they rank right up there with old friends….

    …a good cup of hot cocoa

    and big comfy chairs …

    …this is beginning to sound alot like a love list!

    i’m long overdue to write another…

    … what was it i was saying

    before i so rudely interrupted myself…

    hmmm….

    Oh! The giveaway!

    All this talk about chairs gives me an idea! …

    .. How about a chair of your very own?

    And what if more than one of you received one…

    hmmm… let’s say ….

    … how about  2, no… 5? …hmmm…. maybe 10 of you?

    Yay! I thought you’d be pleased! …

    “When fortune calls, offer her a chair” – Yiddish Proverb  

    The story goes a little like this.

    When I ordered these (truly gorgeous) pewter chair ornaments for my store a few years back, I had to go overboard and overbudget to order what seemed like umpteen gazillion of them. Which was fine at the time, really… I was ok waiting to make my money back.  That is, until recently.

    So first ya figure, I need to bring in an income, like really make one- now. I have all but used up my savings during the last 3.5 months while the store was closed. Family emergencies, life itself, deadlines, illness, time…. i’m sure you know the drill. We’ve all been there at some point in time. So there’s that financial aspect — If i can just make back the cost? I’ll be content.

    However, the money is (sadly) the least of my worries with them.

    “You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.” -Stephen King  

    Truth be told (she says in almost embarrassed fashion) it’s driving-me-outta-already-half-gone mind that these beauties are taking up a full shelf, right within my precious view, in (gasp!) ….styrofoam containers. Horrifying isn’t it? (humor me folks, I already know I’m anal). There is not one single-ounce-of-my-trying-to-get-back-a-size 6-body that likes how they looked stored in those. I don’t want to remove the treasured chairs from it and sell people something that has been displayed… but I simply cannot stand styrofoam. It gives me that chilling-nails-on-a-chalkboard-kinda-creepy feeling. *Total shudder* even thinking about it. Maybe it’s that tactile hypersensitivity  thing some docs say people with Tourette’s Syndrome have? I dunno. I don’t care. I want ’em gone!

    BUT -I did totally have sense enough to set aside a nice stash of the actual pewter chairs for myself – to alter, art up, house in the many-many-dollhouses-i-hope-to-one-day-own, display and so forth. I love the pewter chairs themselves, even if I abhor the packaging. I have marked them on clearance — a get-the-heck-outta-my-home  price, and I’m even going to give a bunch away to y’all today too! So my ridiculous OCD is your gain.

    The thing is, you’ll need to inspire me or make me laugh to call one your very own. The more people that enter via a comment.. the more people that will win. I don’t want the 29 days of giving to lose steam – so I’m giving you incentive to continue spreading the word. I have yet to unveil of the some best giveaways … and we’ve already had some darn good ones!

    That being said – here’s the rules today:

    • Tell me how you would artify or alter one these pretty chairs, or otherwise make use of it (I just know some of you are re-gifters!) and if you are a drawing a blank there merely make me feel a smidge saner, and tell me what gives you that silly, not very sensical ‘Oh the Horror!’ feeling. Much like the relationship styrofoam and I have.
    • Do this by: Monday, December 15th
    • For every 15 entries/comments we get on this one, I’ll give away a chair. Not shabby eh? Up to 10 of them total. Excited? Spread the word!
    • Plenty of time to enter the Day 0 Contest too.
    As for Days 1-5 …be sure to enter by 2pm EST tomorrow (12/9/08). Cause I’ll be using one of those handy-dandy online tools then to randomize the winners. Get crackin’!
    Chrysti – Future President of the Anti-Styrofoam Packaging Club.
     
     

     

    Day 5/29 Days of Giving is…

    as i opened this to blog today…

    …one word instantaneously sprang to mind

    UPLIFTING! ….

    … you inspire me, truly inspire me

    do i tell you all that enough?

    …. for those who may be having a day, where they doubt their value

    please know, I cherish you … even if we haven’t formally ‘met’ …

    …  wow! the smiles, and much needed laughter you gifted me with

    have been a godsend today! …

    … every time i craved a bit of refuge from the pain

    i popped on here to read a few of your comments…

    …and left feeling brighter, lighter, and a bit happier

    but i have to say…

    … some of you? have horridly bad taste in jokes & puns!

    which, tickles me …

    …’cause i love a really good bad joke

    almost as much as people falling

    ..isn’t that terrible of me?

    back to your horridly bad taste… we totally need help…

    like serious help.

    ha – that’s what creating is meant for!…

    … i found the start of my healing within creating & the humor today

    thank you, for providing me with a safe, smile filled place to visit …

    … which actually, unintentionally leads me to today’s giveaway

    focusing on another one of my havens….

    …. go ahead, guess

    hint… every artist or createatarian needs one….

    My Studio

    If you guessed my studio, you hit the proverbial nail on the head! Have you seen my studio yet? If not, clicking here will to take you that photoset on Flickr, I’d love to have you visit!

    And no, I am not giving my studio away – I may be a lil’ nutso, but I am not quite THAT far gone… (yet anyway). However, I’d be willing to trade for a larger stand alone cottagey shed, withcustom cabinetry located in the middle of the woods… My studio isn’t much, but it’s mine. I did the best i could, with what I have; it suits my needs. We all may dream of bigger & better — but this truly does suffice for me.  It is the room that houses tiny treasures, harbors big dreams and allows me a refuge from the rest of the world. It’s the one place I find a comforting sort of solace. It is the one place I can truly just be.. me.

    studiosfall08

    I talk more about it in the current issue of Cloth,Paper, Scissors Studios (p. 45). Which is my own personal favorite new magazine of the year. I was soooo bummed that I couldn’t meet the deadline when Cate asked me to take part in Issue 1 … so needless to say, I was thrilled when I got a second chance! Plus, I got to share the spotlight with friends like Lia and Tiffany … Lia & i had a few phone calls where we obsessed on how obsessive we were. It was nice to know I wasn’t alone! Her studio is super cool, be sure to check it out in there too (p. 49).

    What really sets Cloth,Paper, Scissors Studios apart from other studio type publications is that it doesn’t just focus on these lavish, dream spaces most of us will never have in our lifetimes. It shows a tremendous amount of real spaces with real people. Everyday folk like you & I. Heck, some of the spaces aren’t even studios – they are corners of a living room, a closet — it’s just jam packed with ideas, inspiration, and solutions that anyone can apply. It’s not often you find practical and beautiful all wrapped up in one pretty package ya know. If that’s not enough – it also has tutorials, and projects geared towards your space and organizing tips & tricks.

     Chrysti's Magazine Files

    I even have a lil’ project in the online extras – simple, stylish magazine ( and other things) files. Super easy. Super cute. If you make some, be sure to show me how they came out! For the curious – I scored the bases at an Ikea. I have another set (shown in other pics) of these plain-jane cardboard magazine holders that I covered with color copies of ephemera, mostly personal family documents and letters from my grandparents. It’s beyond comforting to see their writing daily!

    When I open my new site — I will be adding a regular column on studio organizing, since it’s one of the most frequently asked questions I receive. You can check out these past blog posts of mine, for some tips I have already put out there.

    To prove to you just how awesome this special publication is — I will be giving away not one, but two copiesof this in today’s giveaway — that is, if we get over 100 entries/comments. So make sure to tell your friends, so two of you can be lucky winners. And hey, why not let us see your space in one of the future issues? The amazing crew over there is accepting submissions. Pokey talks about it on her blog here.

    You can read about my favorite supplies in the issue — but I thought I’d share some of my other favorite things with you too. For sentimental reasons – I lovingly treasure the tacky, I-would-never-in-a-million-years-choose-this-for myself, poorly made, dust magnet of a curio cabinet as it was my Grammas. Each & every time I look at it; I am instantly taken back to the day she bought it – how this amazingly big, heartwarming smile adorned her face, the pride she had when her doll collection filled it, how she lit up when she’d show it off; it was as if she had purchased the Taj Mahal… and I am instantly inspired every time I sneak a glance. I want that emotion and pride to come forth in my work, which is why it’s placed in my studio.

    My big cozy chair and a half was an amazing score during a going out of business sale. Without a doubt it’s where you’ll find me curled up to read, paging through magazines, and sometimes I even journal there. My iPod is almost always blaring in my studio, as music and the brightness of my room just infuse me with an artistic energy I can’t find elsewhere.

    Chrysti's Studio  Chrysti's Studio - Close-Ups

    I can’t leave out my charm chain that is draped over my chandelier either. It’s a storybook without words; as it holds treasures from my travels, memories of my childhood, and is filled with gifts that have been given to me, or I gave to myself! Each charm holds a value to me that is beyond measure and it’s truly the stuff that dreams are made of.

    No offense to y’all: but I’d rather be in my studio than blogging tonight – so here’s how to enter:

    • Leave a comment on this post, answering one ( or both ) of these questions “What do you love about your creative space?” and/or “What would you most like help organizing in that space?” If you don’t care for one of those, then merely just do a lil schmoozing by lying through your teeth and saying by far my studio is the best in the issue. We all need a lil’ denial don’t we?
    • Do this by: Tuesday, December 9th. Winner or Winners will be announced then!
    • Still time to enter these giveaways too! Day 0, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, & Day 4

    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

    Day 1/29 Days of Giving is…

    drum roll please…..

    ….. sparing you the link to a you tube drumroll

    i should be commended for that…..

    … it’s terribly difficult for me to restrain my cheesiness sometimes

    which reminds me of a story…

    … ok. FINE!

    i’ll get on with it already…

    … i proudly present you with ….

    The Final Mystery

    (That self-portrait is a clue folks!)

    ….. an interview with the fabulous Cate Coulacos Prato, author of Mixed-Media Self Portraits, Features editor extraordinaire of Quilting Arts Magazine & Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine as well as the editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Studios Magazine (we’ll talk about that in another post…) and one of the infamous Quilting Arts Go-Go Dancers (ya gotta see that video)! She’s also a mother, wife, flea market connoisseur…hmmm… this is really beginning to sound like a personals ad. Sorry Cate’s hubby!

    As I mentioned before ( here & here ) I was fortunate enough to be a part of this seriously amazing book (something I really don’t say lightly) and obviously jumped at the chance to be a part of Cate’s Blog tour. Kelly Rae Roberts, ArtGirlz, Studio 490, Random Arts, Janeville, & Cheryl Prater  are some of the folks who have also taken stops along the blogosphere.

    Besides, who else but moi – would tackle those ultra-important, pressing questions – like what’s in your fridge? I had to participate; if merely to stand up for those of us who are far too curious and secretly peek inside people’s cabinets and fridges. (I totally just lost dinner invites now eh?)

    If you haven’t figured out today’s giveaway yet, read on. Even if you’re suspicious – you’ll need to , since we’re making you work a lil’ for this one! Plus – Cate shares some tips on getting published, getting past ‘blocks’ and more – I think the information and insight alone is a ‘giveaway’ to us all!

    In case it needs to be said -the bold questions are all from lil’ ol’ me, and the responses in the reddish-brown are Cate’s. Not that I think anyone didn’t get that, just ya know… making sure.

    Mixed-Media Self-Portraits was an ingenious topic for a book (I’m still mad I didn’t think of it first!), and had never been done before. What inspired you take on this fascinating project?

    First, the 2005 Creative Self-Portrait Challenge in Quilting Arts Magazine. We got hundreds of responses—funny, poignant, beautiful, strange. It was wonderful. Then, blogging became a thing, and the weekly Self-portrait Challenge tookoff among artists and we thought it was the right time for this book.

    One thing that really struck home with me when reading this masterpiece (particularly pages  92-99 *cough* ) is how it really is an exploration of self, creative journey (like Donna Anderson’s piece)and the effects that has on all different facets of our lives. The glimpses into the contributor’s souls are so present within these pages – What did you discover about yourself through the creation of this book?

    About myself? I discovered that writing a book is hard work! And that as self-centered as I am, when it came to do my own self-portrait, I went through all the stages the contributing artists went through: Denial, bashfulness, indecision, hand-wringing, cringing, and finally, acceptance and enjoyment.

     Just because I enjoy a good random question: what would we find in your refrigerator right now?

    Milk, mayo, sliced turkey, about 8 containers that read “cottage cheese” or “cream cheese” but actually have various leftovers in them, a drawer full of vegetables waiting to be made into minestrone, and a single piece of strawberry rhubarb pie (unless my teenager ate it last night).

    Mixed-Media Self Portraits has an amazing array of creative prompts and exercises to jumpstart folks when they are feeling ‘blocked’ or otherwise just need a fresh perspective. What rituals do you have when creating? (and yes, writing IS creating.) How do you get the words to flow when you feel stumped?

    I get up and move around. Do something mindless like taking a walk or even just putter around the house doing random chores I would otherwise not do. Whatever is the opposite of sitting in front of the computer, so long as it’s not reading or watching TV. When I move and think about something else, the words start to move around in my mind, first aimlessly, then they start to glomtogether, swirl around, and take shape. Then I race to the keyboard to get it down before the words evaporate. When I start to get on a roll and in the zone, the writing just flows. But if I get stuck at that point, it usually means a trip to the kitchen for a snack, preferably something that I can keep popping into my mouth, like popcorn or raw baby carrots or–OK, ya got me—chocolate-covered peanuts. Somehow, that slight distraction jars me off the “stuck” track and gets the thoughts flowing again.

    Aside from how amazingly inspired and original pages 92-99 are, what do you most hope readers  will gain from this book?

    Well, I’ve always been into self-help and self-discovery, so aside from the practical aspects of the art techniques and forms, I hope that readers will use the exercises and the process of making self-portraits to learn something about themselves.

    I love the creative fearlessness this inspires – was it at all scary opening yourself up and going through this process? Do you have any irrational fears? (I’m afraid of fans. And of whatever might lurk deep inside the dark mailbox. Someone really needs to invent a mailbox light. Seriously, sumthin’ could bite one’s hand off in there! ) Oh – back to you- Irrational fears? Process Scary?

    Well, here’s the funny thing. In people’s reaction to the book I detect an irrational fear of being self-centered. “Who me? A self-portrait? What would people think?” Like that. But, you know, you don’t have to show anybody. It can be just for you. Plus, isn’t art a form of self-expression? So what’s so different about making a self-portrait? As for me, I have an irrational fear of vacuuming at night. Someone might sneak up behind me. Really. I only vacuum during the daylight hours.

    Speaking of scary. The piece featured on page 95 is rumored to have scared a child. What was your reaction upon seeing it?

    Well, by the time I saw the mask that appears on page 95, I knew what to expect. I had already seen the one on page 93, and I have to say, I was a little taken aback when it emerged from its obsessively packaged cocoon. The red and black? Hmmm. But it grew on me, once I really looked at it and saw all the layers and the writing. I especially like the view of it partially open. I think it’s one of my favorite images in the book.

    Sidenote from Chrysti: Actually, I couldn’t stand the red & black. I had envisioned the frame as an integrated part of the piece, but time & deadlines didn’t permit it. I had planned to alter it, once it was returned — and then I liked it. Weird how that works!

    Why are manhole covers round?

    I have an answer, but I don’t think you can print it.

    One of the most frequent questions my blog readers ask me – is how to get published. What advice can you offer people who want to shamelessly promote their own pages 92-99? (Aside from having it done yesterday – ha.)

    Just put yourself out there. We are always looking for fresh art, new techniques, or new results from old techniques. The worst that happens is that we’ll say “no.” If so, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean your art is bad. It may mean the editor has already planned a similar piece. We work months in advance. If we say keep in touch, or we want to see more, we mean it. Keep trying. This idea or piece of art might not work, but the next one might.

    One thing I will say is, a lot of people get stuck in the trap of thinking, “Well, they just ran a piece on how to make gelatin prints, so I’ll send them MY gelatin prints—they’re just as good.” As a former freelancer, I’ve fallen into that trap myself. The reality is, if we just ran something like it, we probably aren’t going to want to do it again for a while. However, if you’ve got a fresh twist on the technique or your prints look like no one else’s, bring it on.

    Another barrier I should bring up: bad pictures. The most beautiful, insightful, earth-shattering art in the world is not going to get noticed or accepted if you present it in photographs that are out of focus, too dark, too light, or the image is obscured by the glare of a flashbulb. If you can’t take good pictures or don’t have a good camera, find a friend who can and does.

    Otherwise, blog, network, do swaps, send stuff to publishers. And if you have an idea for a book—don’t sit on it. Media moves too fast these days. Chrysti’s Note: Submission Guidelines are here!

    Is it true you are giving away a SIGNED copy of this book to one of my lucky readers? Why wasn’t my copy signed? I think you should make them work for it and have them answer a question to enter – so shoot – what question would you most like to see responses to?

    This is true! (Yours wasn’t signed because it came directly from the publisher; sorry!) I like the “work for it” concept. My question is: What’s stopping you from buying my book? Just kidding! Actually, my question is: What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?

    So there ya have it my friends. To enter today’s giveaway –

    • Leave a comment on this post, answering Cate’s question: “What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?”
    • If nothing is stopping you from making a self portrait then answer one of these 2 questions: What is stopping you from purchasing this fabulous book? or Why are manhole covers round?
    • Do this by: Tuesday, December 9th. Winner will be announced then!

    If you already have the book, enter anyway — this copy will be signed. Besides, that extra copy may just make a good giveaway of your own this holiday season! I love when people pass on the kindness – it may just be the one thing, we can’t over-indulge in.

    I also thought Cate’s question “What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?” is an interesting blogpost all it’s own. So, if you are inclined – go more in depth with it on your blog – and leave the link in the comments as your response. What fun!

    Next week, the behind the scenes peeks I promised you, and my thoughts will be put up here in conjunction with another giveaway .. so stay tuned. And, it’s not too late too spread the word about the 29 days of giveaways, or enter to win the $100.00 Gift Certificate! Just read here, and comment there to enter.

    Chrysti …….. who is feeling extremely blessed, touched, and inspired by each of you today.