Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More Etsy Favorites

I'm still loving the activity feed on Etsy! The thumbnails of new items and of the favorites in my circle grab my eyes and lead me to discover new artists that give me a burst of inspiration whenever time allows. I would love to share a few of my newest discoveries with you:

Hope you check out these artists and their wonderful shops!
Visit Made by SwirlyGirl, too!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Back to the Beginning

When I began creating cards for myself and for family, I did so with handmade papers I had purchased at a local art supply store. I fell in love with their paper section and loved how I could use small pieces of large sheets and make a big impression, making the beautiful paper last seemingly forever. My sister's mother-in-law lives in Nepal and makes yearly visits home to California and for several years would bring back these beautiful papers to give to me, for which I was extremely grateful. Not only was she able to bring me colors that I couldn't find here, but even the bags they came in were made from handmade paper which I found uses for.

After several years, I moved on to photo art and stopped pulling out my papers except for personal card use. Well, for the last few months I have been looking at those papers and hearing them call me and finally sat down yesterday for a little play time with them. I loved working with them---beautiful colors, textures, prints...it's been too long. So, for as long as this is satisfying my creative urge, I will continue to make my cards using these beautiful treasures from near and far and have reopened the section in my shop called "Threads and Shreds". I have a feeling my piles of fine fabric remnants will be calling to me soon, too, and the results (Threads) will be joining these paper creations (Shreds). I hope people enjoy them as much as I enjoy making them!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Daughter!

In honor of my daughter's 15th birthday, I've created a treasury of lovely items that I know that she'd love---and even a couple that she may be getting for her birthday! Happy Birthday, my beautiful daughter!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Of Poets, Prophets, and Madmen...

I've been experimenting with digital collage lately, but didn't know what I was going to do with this new medium. My husband, Brett Rickaby, has been writing (poetry, stories, plays, screenplays...) for as long as I have known him and didn't know what he was going to do with his growing collection. A few days ago he decided that he was going to start a blog and share some of his poetry and writing. I had used several of his poems as inspiration for my collages. Voilá! A new collaboration between us was born in Of Poets, Prophets, and Madmen.

In truth, this is Brett's blog, and if and when I have a collage to add, we will do so. He is prolific, however, and I cannot keep up with him! That said, we LOVE collaborating. This is not the first time we have joined together artistically. In fact, we work well together whenever we get the opportunity.

Here are a couple of my collages, linked to the blog posts that they accompany. I hope that you enjoy them, as well as my husband's poetry. Maybe one day we will share some of the amazing love poetry that he has written for me over the years. As you may be able to tell, I'm his biggest fan!

Visit Made by SwirlyGirl on Etsy and RedBubble, too!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Food for the Spirit

My husband and I love to take our daughters on road trips. They don't have to be far in distance, but it is nice when we feel like we've really gotten away----even if it is just for an afternoon. Sometimes we splurge and spend a night, maybe two, at a motel so that we can fully enjoy our surroundings and explore a little bit. Last weekend was one of those such road trips. Having fallen in love with Sequoia National Park during an overnighter last May, we couldn't wait to return, and we got to explore King's Canyon National Park, which connects to Sequoia National Park from the north end, as well.

These drives are so rejuvenating for us (even while our bodies rebel at being in the car for hours on end). Such beauty surrounding us at all elevations and the opportunity to get out and take photos, feeling a greater connection to the amazing offerings before us...it is what the spirit needs every once in a while!

There is so much to see in this wonderful world we live in. Not everyone lives near Sequoia/King's Canyon National Park, but the beauty is everywhere in different forms. I encourage anyone who is feeling uninspired to venture out into their surroundings and see them in a way you never have before. Take a camera and look very close and from a distance. It can be life changing and healing, and almost always inspiring.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mom's Favorite Things

My mother is one of the most deserving people I know. After raising four children with my father, working for most of her adult life as a nurse anesthetist, moving with Dad across the country in order to be closer to their children and grandchildren, and making it to as many recitals, performances, graduations, birthdays, and other important events as humanly possible---not to mention the last four months of taking care of most of the necessities of running a household as Dad has been recuperating from a string of unfortunate accidents which have been making this less than a banner year for them thus far, my mother deserves flowers, candy, a dinner out, a trip, some nice jewelry, and a day being pampered at a spa! Unfortunately, the economy has affected all of us and our love for her is being expressed in other ways! In honor of Mother's Day this year, I put together a little mini-treasury full of items inspired by some of my mother's favorite things. I wish I could fill your day with all of these today, Mom! :

From left to right:
WeeBitArtsy, HalMarie, PJRodio

Happy Mother's Day to you, Mom!

And Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there who are lucky enough to be mothers!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Favoriting Frenzy

I haven't paid much attention to Etsy's attempt at creating it's own social network. I've been added to a few circles and I've added some to my own, but up till now, really haven't seen either the need or the benefit of this addition. This morning, however, having gone through my emails and Facebook earlier than usual, I found myself with a little more time on my hands and coffee in my cup and decided to check it out a little further. Well, all I can say is that I am newly inspired this morning with all of the incredible art and artists that are selling on Etsy! (This isn't news to me---I frequently browse through shops for inspiration.) But, how much easier it is to discover new favorite shops, items, and artists by seeing what other artists and customers whose tastes you admire are favoriting! I had a hard time tearing myself away this morning, but want to share a few of my new favorites from my Etsy surfing.

Aren't they fun?! I can't wait to share more of my favorites soon!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Creative Reuse--a Great Idea for the Planet

It's been a long time since my last blog post. I allowed life to get in the way and then couldn't find the inspiration to resume---until now!

The New Year brought it's usual resolutions and one of the items on my list was to clean out all my crafts closets, cupboards, containers, etc., purging myself of 20 plus years of accumulation. I'm taking little 20 minute and 1/2 hour bites at it so that it doesn't become too overwhelming, but each time I have a go at it I create a pile of "stuff" that I'm not sure what to do with. So much of it is too old to be of interest to those involved in anything trendy, and yet it is still "good". I hate to think of any of it going to a landfill, particularly when there might be someone out there who might find some of the stuff useful. And yet, it is occupying too much space in my home and has become a burden that I need lifted.

As is frequently the case in life, I was led to my solution indirectly. I clicked on a link a friend had posted on Facebook which took me to a website I found interesting enough to explore further, which led me to another link, another website, another link, and voila! My solution was the Long Beach Depot of Creative Reuse in Long Beach, CA. It is about an hour's drive from where I live, but with my van loaded with donations, my two children, my friend, and her two children, I trekked down there one Sunday afternoon to check it out and---hopefully---rid myself of a trunk full of potential treasures for someone else.

After an easy drive and a brief few minutes of being lost (the exit we were supposed to take was closed for construction!), we found our way to an up and coming art-ful community where I found a parking spot directly in front of the depot! I felt like this must be my lucky day, as I hadn't been sure how we would deliver all of the stuff if we had to carry it very far! A table was set up in front of the building and two young ladies were standing next to it with yarn and crochet hooks in hand, trying to teach themselves how to crochet with some yarn that must have been donated by someone. Upon entering this little storefront, I looked around in surprise at how little room there was in this place---how much can this little place hold?, I was thinking. I found a woman behind a cashier's counter wearing an apron and she immediately began telling me about the place and showing me around. It was astonishing to see how much she was able to actually find room for and keep organized and tidy and visually interesting!

Lisa Hernandez, the owner and operator, along with her daughter (one of the young ladies out front), opened Long Island Depot for Creative Reuse 3 years ago after leaving the corporate world and looking for something more community oriented and meaningful to do with her life.

She has obviously found her passion and radiates peace, love, enthusiasm, and friendliness from way down deep. She shared her story with me as the girls rummaged through the treasures, inspired by the creative examples hanging everywhere of what could be made with such simple items as shopping bags (crocheted market bags and rugs!), paper clips and paper scraps (cute little necklaces and straps!), corks and ink pen nibs (push pins and jewelry!), rubber inner tubes (really cool purses!).

What impressed me the most about Lisa and her mission was not that so many people came on a regular basis to donate and trade (some items are available for free if you leave something else) and purchase supplies for art projects and other things; nor was it that there were so many items that I would never have even thought of saving or collecting for a place like this, had I known it existed previously (plastic "thingies", prescription bottles, film canisters, unused punched out Valentine's cards, feathers, puzzle pieces, game pieces...);

nor was it the admission that this non-profit company was able to support herself and her daughter, even with some proceeds going to artists in the community. What impressed me the most was that Lisa's mission was more about community than saving the environment. "Green" is so hip and trendy right now, and that is a good thing! But, Lisa's efforts to make her business as green as a business can be --(her business cards are donated office labels with her name and address printed on them which are carefully centered on, say, a cut up cereal box)-- are a means of supporting and connecting businesses, artists, neighbors in her immediate neighborhood. A recent recipient of a Pepsi Refresh grant, Lisa created a Creative Reuse Day event during which local businesses and artists were showcased and visitors were given the opportunity to let their creativity flow. Judging by the articles and photos, it was a fun and inspirational day that brought people together for the purpose of learning good environmental stewardship and the importance of knowing your neighbors and supporting the businesses in your community.

As she and her daughter helped my friend and me unload the back of my van, I would comment, "I'm not sure if anyone would really want these old large scraps of wrapping paper" and such and each time Lisa or her daughter Yoshino would say, "Yes! You'd be surprised! People will use these!" I was so relieved to see so many of my formerly cherished, but abandoned projects and materials find a temporary home! And at the prices the items in the Depot are selling, I have no doubt they will move quickly. Lisa explained that her 1 and 2 and 3 cent prices (of course, some items are more, but still VERY inexpensive!) encourage people to make them move--she doesn't want anything to sit for long in the store.

An hour or so after pulling up in front of Long Beach Depot for Creative Reuse, we piled into the car for the long ride home---each of us with treasures that had once been someone else's trash! and my camera card filled with photos. I left with more than that, though. I left with inspiration for another blog post and best of all, the knowledge that my clutter was on it's way to new homes and NOT the landfill! I'll be going back soon, for sure! I still have a lot of bins to go through!

There are several creative reuse centers around the country, so do a little research in your area! You might find some inspiration, some little treasures, or at the very least, a place that you can pass on your own no-longer-wanted items in which someone else someone might find potential!