Tuesday, December 24, 2013

One Tip Tuesday

As promised in my last rant- er, post, here is the tip I wanted to share. It's a sort of craft hack that I think makes the basic step of applying paper mache to a balloon easier.

If you've ever attempted to apply wet paper strips to a balloon, you know the balloon doesn't exactly hold still while you work. It will roll around, possibly causing your handiwork to get shifted or even fall off. Here's a simple answer to that annoying scenario. Inflate a balloon and knot the opening. Next, weight the balloon by tying the mouth around the knotted opening of a bag of river stones (found at craft and garden stores). Now get a small bucket or large plastic tub. Mine is a large yogurt tub. Drop the bag of stones down into the tub. Now the balloon sits securely on the top, ready to be used.
Note: you may need to adjust and tighten the knot around the bag, depending on the size of your container, to get the balloon to sit firmly in the container.

Voilà! Now you can easily apply petroleum jelly (release agent) and the wet paper strips, without having to steady the balloon. I don't know if anyone else has shared something like this... I only came up with it the other day to make a project I had to do easier, lol. But I hope it helps someone out there!

that was easy!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Paper Beef

A recent order placed by a customer revealed an opportunity to set the record straight about the art of papier mache (aka paper mache). A parent placed an order for the paper mache body of a project with the plan to apply the finishing touches with her child. She sent me a link to detailed instructions to create the piece

Without revealing info about the link or its creator, I will say that it was the most convoluted set of plans, which included a number of messy, unnecessary steps... I shook my head at the idea that it was a project given to a child to complete at home. As someone who has worked in this medium for more years than I want to admit anymore, I wonder why people think it's such an enigma or tricky concept. When I see projects like this, I know. Please! Paper mache is NOT complicated! Don't make it. As much as I'm happy to create a custom request, I feel bad for the parents who have these things thrust onto them, without the interest or understanding of how simple they should be.

Bottom line, in my opinion, it was a project meant to be created in a classroom, guided by a teacher who is familiar with the technique (or at least okay with a mess). Not sent home for some harried parent to deal with. And if it is given as a take home project, or for any other reason tackled by a newbie, I'd like to set the record straight, to hopefully help parents, or anybody else faced with a project, if they're unfamiliar with paper mache. I'm sure there are lots of other great recipes to be found all over the internet. I've noticed, though, when I did a search that most were exceedingly involved, some with weird, complicated ingredients and steps. My personal preference is to create pieces using the simplest recipe, so I can reserve the finesse for the finishing (sanding, painting, embellishing).

There are two main types of paper mache, used over centuries by different cultures, to make many different (often functional) things. The pulp method is shredded paper, soaked in water, then mixed with a binder to create a clay-like situation that can be sculpted (more on this one later). The strip method involves paper torn into strips, dipped into a solution, layered onto a form, then allowed to dry. The strip method is the one I want to clarify (in case anyone is interested in my approach, after years of trial and error). Bottom line KEEP IT SIMPLE. When people start talking about boiling glue or boiling paper, I roll my eyes. That stuff is a waste of time to me, and doesn't make a difference in the finished piece. 

Here it is: Get newspaper (or whatever type of paper you prefer to use). Tear it into strips. Get plain white
glue. Add water to it until it reaches the consistency of milk. Dip the strips, (dripping excess glue off before applying) and apply 3-7 layers of strips to your form. Let your form dry. Add more, if necessary to achieve a hard, strong shape. Done. Well, at least the wet part, anyway. Now, there are other details, of course, so here's a quick breakdown:
  • I prefer white glue over flour and water or wallpaper paste because a) flour and water pieces can mold! b) my skin does not like wallpaper paste- it makes me break out in hives.
  • Salvage common household items to make forms. Use masking tape to tape together different shapes such as balloons, empty bottles, paper towel tubes, boxes, etc. to create a basic shape you can paper mache.
  • If you'll need to remove items used to mold shapes (balloons, bowls, etc.), coat them with petroleum jelly, cooking spray, or talcum powder to make them easy to pry out of the dried paper form
  • If you need to cover an item completely, when it has dried, carefully use a craft knife to cut your paper form. Pry the item out, then tape and mache the empty paper form back together.
  • For heaven's sake, if you need to create a face/mask, please don't paper mache your face or a child's face (yes, I've seen this done). Do you wanna rock a paper facial until it's totally dry? No, I didn't think so. Get a styrofoam wig head thing, slap some Vaseline on it, and paper mache that.
  • If you need a form that can't be found around the house, or want to make a unique shape, consider using non-hardening plasticine clay. It's super cheap, and you can get it at any craft store. There's the gray, artist grade type, or the colorful kind you can get in the kids section. Both do the job equally well. You can sculpt your piece, then dust it with talcum powder or cover with petroleum jelly/cooking spray, and paper mache it. Remove it from the clay when it has dried. This is a popular approach for mask making. You can reuse the clay over and over for different projects.
  • Use sandpaper to smooth your piece.
  • Allowing pieces to dry fully before attempting to smooth or paint them will prevent some warping, but be prepared, even the most carefully constructed pieces can warp occasionally. 
I think that's all of the basics. I may think of more to add later. If I've missed anything, or anyone has any questions, feel free to post them in the comments. I have another tip that I'll post later with pics on One Tip Tuesday.

Also, I mentioned pulp earlier. Find my recipe for pulp HERE.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Turkeys, Trolls, and Spam (Not Me!)

It's the time of year when I'm preparing to sit with family to enjoy my favorite holiday meal for Thanksgiving. In the throws of preparations, I've been alerted that a troll has struck, hacking my blog, and sending out emails in my name, with vulgar subject lines. Actually, my blog itself hasn't been hacked, blogger's email system has been hacked. So, some of my subscribers may have received the email.

Anyway, blogger has been alerted, and, as they have in the past, I'm sure will take swift action on the matter.
In the meantime, though I'm sure you know this, I have to say, please do not click on said message or it's contents.

Now that I've said that, I get to say Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Throwback Thursday

who needs an eight ball?
I have a vague, but cherished childhood memory of one of my first creative ventures. I had commandeered a bunch of kids of various ages, who were my playmates at after school care, and talked them into a plan of creative genius (well, in my mind it was). We were going to get our hands on a bunch of typewriter paper (that's what it was called in those days), construct mountains of paper fortune tellers, and sell them. I don't remember how I planned to move the product, or compensate the kids, but I do remember rows of those brown folding office tables set up outside, with me walking up and down between them, demonstrating each fold, with all the kids following along.

I laugh about it when I remember it, because a) I was cooking up crazy ideas, even when I was a kid, and b) people do actually make beautiful paper fortune tellers for sale now. One has only to head over to Etsy, and plug in "paper fortune teller", "kissing birds", and "cootie catcher", among other names, to find a slew of makers, some who will even customize them for you. I remember the girls used to put things like boys' names or numbers for how many kids we might one day have on the insides for the fortunes, lol. Did you ever make them as a kid? If you'd like to try making them again (perhaps with your kids?), I've designed and posted a printable template on the resources page of my website. You can print, fold, and be telling fortunes in no time! You can also use the template as inspiration for your own design, with your own fortunes written or printed inside! (I do not, however, encourage the whole child labor thing.) Happy making!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Creative [Building] Blocks

what next?
Found some time the other day, between working on other projects, to mess with this little paper mache teacup. It's been floating around my studio for a while, waiting on a bolt of lightning to hit to inspire me on how to finish it. It had a few coats of paint on it, but I felt the need to sand it, and this was the result. A sort of "happy accident" that resembles worn metalware (the painted metal cups and plates that people often take camping). In fact it reminds me of a favorite cup of mine.

Well, I'm leaving it alone again, to focus on other things (mainly commissioned and custom projects with deadlines), and give myself time to decide what kind of design I want to paint or draw over this background. I'm picturing a beautiful line drawing, or something to add some color to it, like a floral or other pattern. Guess we'll see!

This is a typical day/week in my studio. I must have numerous pieces going at one time, since things often need down time between steps for drying, deciding, etc. I'm sure my approach would drive some people crazy, but it has been the best way for me. Over the years, that approach has helped to inject variety into my work, keep me excited about each project, and to be pro-
ductive. Things stay fresh and interesting when I can work in spurts and see progress happening. Bonus: it keeps me from getting stressed out when I hit a roadblock with one thing and need time to figure out an answer. I consider solutions while I move on to other things. I think of myself as a busy bee in my studio, flitting from one piece to the next, moving each one forward and seeing series of things being completed in stages. View some of my finished teacups here.

Anyway, back to flitting for me. How would you finish this piece?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Motivation

I know you've probably been asked this before, but I'm askin again. What crazy thing would you like to be brave enough to do?

I read an article and watched a video last night that I initially planned to just post on facebook, but the post just got too long, and I figured, what do I have a blog for? I love that these two imagined something, then just did it. I recommend watching the short video, not just reading the article, and I hope you get something out of it. I guess I'm sharing this because I've been noticing how some folks are not happy [with their lives, choices, surroundings, whatever]. I glean it from the things they say and the circumstances that seem to frustrate them. My life isn't "perfect" by any means, and I don't have some magic answer, except find what brings you joy, and do that. Get inside yourself and figure out what is important to you, and what you can let go of to make room for something that will fulfill you. That is how I stay happy most of the time, in spite of life, and everything not so fun that comes with it. Choosing to make time for my passion gives me the joy that softens the not so fun stuff, and helps me be grateful for the good stuff. You. Have. One. Life. And many choices. Lecture over. And now, if I may share my favorite quote from the video, which I totally relate to, as a maker of many things: "... sometimes the easiest one is just saying you're an artist". Happy Monday, and a miraculous week to you.

read the article

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Ball's in Your Court

I am a creative person obsessed with productivity and progress. And while this has kept me silent here, for lack of time to post, I've been enjoying the fruits of my efforts elsewhere (info coming). Anyway, when I get an idea in my head, I hate little distractions from the working to realize said idea. But I noticed that regular short breaks actually helped my productivity, so I've developed the habit of pausing my work to stretch, go outside, check social media (which must have a time limit attached!). It acts as a reset button, and has proven not to slow down my work, problem solving, or new ideas, but actually help it. Like blasting fresh air through my mind, lol. Anyway, recently, I saw a video online that intrigued me. As usual, I already had 5-6 browser windows open, working on a number of different things simultaneously. I hate seeing tempting video links online, and this one toyed with my resistance to open yet another tab, or get drawn into another thing. But I gave in and clicked, and learned about something I had never heard of before. I thought it was pretty cool, so I'm sharing it below.

As for my new developments, I have a new collection called Motif, which can be found on my website, and lots of other things in the works. The past few months (well, this year, really), have been a time of quietly working and building to realize long sought dreams and goals for myself and my work. There have been all kinds of new ideas, resolution of old ones, problems, solutions, planning, sacrificing, and reaching outside of my comfort zone. But as I start to see things materialize even in tiny measures, I have every expectation that it'll all be worth it. I also have a number of draft posts in the back office here, which I hope to complete and publish soon. You, dear reader, are special, so I like to carefully craft what I share for utmost inspiration here. I'll be sharing more soon. And without further adieu, that video I mentioned about a dissertation ago, lol:

Inspired by these mysterious spheres? Find some not-so-mysterious handmade ones to add to your decor 
in my website store. And the new collection, Motif.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gnat Anymore

I don't have the time to Google it and find out for sure, but I'm pretty sure that there are absolutely no benefits to having gnats (i.e. fruitflies) on this planet. If I could have chosen the creatures that God left off his to-do list, they would make the top 3 for me. Okay that was mean. But gnats seriously annoy me. In the summertime, here in the Southern U.S., and I'm sure, many other places, they somehow appear, explode into hundreds more each day, and think that you've purchased fresh produce purely to welcome them into your home. 

I, personally, got fed up with them zooming around past my ears and face, playing tag in front of my computer screen, and landing on my food. So the past few summers I have experimented with a few different concoctions found by Googling "kill the bastards"- kidding- I don't need the government knocking on my door. I just searched "getting rid of gnats", and found a bunch of variations of a basic mixture. I guess the mixture you choose could be determined by whether you have bougie gnats, country gnats, ghetto gnats, or whatever- no one mixture seemed to work for everybody who discussed their infestation online. After a bunch of trial and error, I worked out a mixture that's finally doing the trick for me. The mixtures were all simple, without hard and fast measured amounts, and the most common denominator in all of them was apple cider vinegar. Some people recommended just putting some wine out, in which the gnats start a party, get baked, and drown, but why pay good money for wine and serve it to gnats? The most typical mixture I found included the vinegar, mixed with a little dishwashing liquid (which, according to some of the posters, made the situation too slippery for the gnats to escape). The mixture is placed in a little bowl or cup out in the open. I've tried it, and it worked okay, but I basically had tiny swimming pools with one or two dead gnats in the bottom, and 4 or 5 still flying around, oblivious to the end I was trying to bring to them. 

So recently, my mom gave me the idea to try adding a tiny piece of fruit, since that was their thing. That turned on a light bulb, and being tired of the messy, smelly little bowls, I decided to rig something else. I grabbed a couple of empty brown apothecary bottles from my studio. Carefully poured apple cider vinegar in, filling about half way. Then I added the dishwashing liquid, till the contents reached about three quarters full (don't fill all the way and make it easier for them to escape!). Then, I added a tiny chunk of watermelon to one, and banana to the other. Lastly, I smeared a little banana around the insides of the bottle mouths. My reasoning:
a) they were attracted to the smell of apple cider vinegar, but maybe the smell of the fruit they can't seem to resist will seal the deal b) dark amber bottles might be confusing to them and meant I didn't have to see dead bugs c) these little bottles were neater, better looking and not smelly like little bowls of vinegar. 

So I put my little bottles out, gave it a day or two, in which the gnat population seemed to dwindle, and low and behold, with a hard look at the bottles held up to the light, there was my proof. They worked! So I thought I'd share it here, where it might help someone else. Hey, I may not be able to save the world, but I got some ideas, lol. 

SN: the raffia seen in the pictures, tied around the bottle was just for aesthetics, to make them look less like bottles of crack rock or something. Say no to drugs. Except Claritin, if you have allergies like me. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An Artist's Tools

Okay, a bit on the obvious side today, but, these are some of the most important tools I've ever used or will use in my work. That being said, I've been a little busy with other creative matters and haven't posted as often as I would like. But I was inspired by a conversation I had the other day with a fellow creative, who told me that in attempting a new technique, she had followed steps I posted here a while back and had some success. I loved that, and I want to share more. I will admit that I have a few sets of photos taken of creative processes to share more techniques, but I haven't made the time to edit them or write the posts. Shame on me. But I am committing to completing one technique post here by this time next week. If I don't fulfill that commitment, you have my permission to write me an angry email. In the meantime, since we're talking about creative tools and inspiration, please go check out my new handmade supply shop, Muse. It's been up and running (albeit a little under the radar) for about a week now, while I tweaked and made sure everything was in place and operating properly. I'm mastering juggling so many different projects I want to do these days! Muse joins my website as an exclusive collection, the first of several specialized niche collections I'm excited to be building. It's an answer to what I've learned some people visit my site to find, and hopefully what they're looking for.

 photo flag11_zps88be0a7a.jpg

Monday, May 6, 2013

Street Signs

My artist's eyes stay ready for action most of the time. Over the years, it has become second nature to scan my surroundings, wherever I am, noticing colors, shapes, etc. that speak to me, and can inspire new ideas and work. I don't just do it for work, though. It's also nice to max out my senses on the world around me for pure enjoyment (that's what they're there for, right?).
Out for my morning workout over the last week, around my neighborhood, I began noticing funny patterns of patched road. Tar swirled in designs I had to wonder about. Did someone show up to patch a crack or two and get inspired to make a statement, or were these lines really how the road cracked (making the pavement a silent artist?).
I snapped pics for my own reference later, but felt I had to share them. They were taken on my phone, as I was paused and panting, so cut me some slack on the quality and see the designs for what they are/have the potential to be (on canvas, or on a handmade object?)! The series, continued from my brand-spanking-new Instagram account:

There were more. I plan to capture more! I thought these were beautiful abstracts, but then I also started looking at them like they do Rorschach tests, and saw things like hearts, blossoms, and cityscapes. What do you see?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Flashback Friday

Okay, I don't know if "Flashback Friday" is a "thing", but I just made it up to serve my purpose. And that purpose here today, my friends, is to take a little trip back in time, to a post far, far away. Well, actually to a blog post I originally wrote back in 2009, on my first blog, when I was a babe in blogland. Hey, I recycle lots of things- why don't we throw blog posts into the mix? Reading through this post, I saw some things that I might have written differently today, or maybe just tweaked a little, but in the interest of being true to the original intent, I'm reposting it here, unedited. Happy Friday!

The Underrated P.O.E.

Like most living, breathing human beings I've always liked the thought of having my cake and eating it too.  But since in the real world, that is often just not possible, the need to make choices exists. I could go on and on all day about how much the choices we all must make everyday, large to small, impact our lives and, more often than not, the lives of those around us. And most of us take for granted the number of choices we consciously and subconsciously make every single day. If I mull over the decisions I made just yesterday, I bust myself being on autopilot through a number of them.  And I know I'm not alone. But the pace of society today frequently demands that we make many quick decisions, give up the luxury of lengthy consideration, and multitask decision making, often just clicking the "yes to all" button to make things easier on ourselves. I must admit that this form of adaptation to information overload has forced me, having once been constantly guilty of indecisiveness, to reform and learn to choose and move on. So, in a way, it's a good thing. To give up the combined self-indulgence and paranoia of lingering and pondering way longer than the matter was worth and become a reborn master of what I call the P.O.E. I'm not at all the creator, nor have I googled it to see if the acronym already exists. In fact, I'm positive someone else, somewhere has used it because it stands for the widely known 'process of elimination'.
I started thinking about this undervalued, extremely simplistic technique a few weeks ago, considering how it has helped my chronically decision impaired self evolve to cope with the pace of things in this day and age. I remember first learning the concept of  P.O.E. back in grade school. Our teacher, Mr. Arthur, first explained process of elimination as it related to multiple choice tests, specifically the hated "scan-tron" tests, on which we were required to fill in bubbles on an answer sheet that corresponded to the questions on the test. My classmates and I were already very familiar with multiple choice questions, but Mr. Arthur's explanation on eliminating the least likely choices first changed the way we (or at least I) looked at making decisions. For people who tend to obsess over choices (like myself sometimes) there was a new level of comfort in the process, knowing that one would start by removing the options that were definite "no's" or highly unlikely first, leaving only the best, most likely options. Anyway, as basic as this thing is, and even though it doesn't guarantee the right or best choice, I truly feel it's something that has helped me for many years now to get things done. I think I use it now more than ever, considering our choices in life seem to have quadrupled. I am constantly saying that my time is my most valuable commodity. And since I don't want that much of my life being spent deciding what color my cell phone should be, what flavor smoothie I want, or what shade of lipgloss to buy, I put P.O.E. to work and get on with my day.   Decision making is definitely a necessary skill, and I'm getting better all the time. Thank you, Mr. Arthur.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Have It Your Way

I recently simplified my blog layout and switched to Blogger's "dynamic view" option. What that means to you, dear reader, is a fresh, clutter-free blog where you can now choose (in the dropdown menu at the top left corner) how you view/read my posts. Dynamic views offers 7 styles in which you can view this blog. I've set one, but you can change, based on your personal preference, the moon, the tides, whatever. Who doesn't love options?

menu options

Thursday, March 7, 2013

An Artist's Tools

In this edition of An Artist's Tools, I am highlighting tools that fall on the opposite end of the spectrum from the very first edition of AAT. I guess this thing will be all over the map, depending on my moods and the tools handy for photographing. The first post featured my most basic drawing tools. Today I'd like to share the mini marketing and sales kit that fits right into whatever purse I happen to be carrying on a given day. Pared down over years of trial and error (and a few missed opportunities), here it is:
 1. Handy mini measuring tape, great for supply and part measuring when shopping for specific projects, also good for measuring a space for art installation. 2. Square card reader with custom QR code sticker, so customers can pay with a card or cash, receive a receipt via email, and then scan the code with their device to visit my website instantly.
3. Folding pocket stamp with my phone number. I don't include it on my cards because I loathe talking on the phone (and the lack of paper trail with phone conversations about projects!), so I only stamp it when absolutely necessary. 4. Mini pen 5. Business card case. 6. Smart phone with a mirrored screen cover, to make sure there's no spinach in my teeth. ;o) 7. Mini notebook.

"Be proactive!"
card swiper with sticker, close up

That's it. Ready for (almost) anything.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Whew! All New!

I've been pretty quiet here and elsewhere on social media. And when I'm quiet, it usually means I'm up to something, lol. These first months of the year, I've been spending time creating lots of new things and broadening my horizons. To that end, some of my work is now part of one exhibit underway, one opening in April, and more to come. Yay! And in the midst of the hustle, bustle, and new opportunities, I am excited to announce the fresh new version of my website! I'm getting better and better at multitasking and juggling projects, lol, and so somehow I completed the overhaul in between all the other stuff. The objective was a fresh, clean look (back to principles learned in art school), where the focus is on the work itself, rather than gizmos and gadgets on the site:

I'm thrilled to have this clean slate through which I can share my work! I hope people enjoy poking around there. To learn more about current and upcoming events, like the exhibitions I mentioned, visit the media page.
Here's to that, and other great things in the months ahead!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Troll Trouble

Not long ago, I opted to change my blog address. I never expected, as I settled into my new address, that a "troll" would move into the old one and get into mischief, posing as me.
the perp
A troll who called himself Melvin had taken up residence at my old address (http://heartreneezanceart.blogspot.com/) and was using my name and tagline to send bogus posts out to subscribers. I'm happy that a few of you regulars knew something was up when you started getting rambling posts of nonsense about Popeye the Sailor.
The correct/new address for my blog is now http://theartofrenee.blogspot.com/. If you subscribe, and you've received one of these posts via email, simply unsubscribe from those emails. You can easily resubscribe to the correct address in the menu to the left.
My sincerest apologies for the confusion- I alerted Blogger and Google, and, as you can see if you attempt to visit the old address, the troll has been stopped! (Thank you Blogger/Google- the wheels of justice move fast!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Before and Afters

Believe me when I say that I am a total nerd. So when I tell you that I think I had to squelch a little excitement over what I'm about to share, you don't have to laugh- you already know.
Not long ago, my dad suddenly decided to gift me the monstrous Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary he has had for many years. I may have had to wipe a little perspiration from my brow as I got over the surprise and excitement (go with me here, okay?) of this unexpected gift.
This is a mammoth book that I have cherished and coveted for my own library since I was a kid. Not just an epic dictionary, this thing contains the U.S. Constitution, practical business math, popular names and abbreviations, presidents and vice presidents of the U.S., foreign words and phrases, - well, let's just say everything you will ever need to know in your entire life (or a round of Jeopardy). In the age of digital access to any info we desire, this thing still rocks.
Anyway, as major as this beast is, it was definitely showing its years. The cover was a true testament to the old cliché (don't judge a book...), because it had seen better days. So prior to giving it a permanent spot among my other books, I decided to give it a minor makeover. Here's the before:

Beautiful on the inside
I gathered some funky, patterned duct tape and some brown wrapping paper...
keep it cheap
And the after:
The Webster's has now officially become a part of the Renée Parker library.
Just a note: for my friends who like to borrow books and "forget" to return them (you know who you are!), this puppy is non-circulating reference, thank you very much. :o)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

All Aboard

A conversation I was having with my parents the other day stirred up a childhood memory long forgotten. Whatever we were discussing somehow came around to the subject of natural aptitudes and we began talking about things my brother and I had been drawn to and picked up easily as children. I suddenly remembered having asked my dad if I could have a piece of the scrap wood in the garage and the use of his hammer and some nails. I was a little girl who loved her toys, especially my Barbie dolls and Legos, but I also had dreams of enlisting my little brother and building a robot, or a fort, or a tree house. I remember how excited I was when my dad said yes (with a stern warning about smashing my thumbs), because for some reason, in my mind, that board could be the beginning of all kinds of wonderful things. We were going to build something magical. In hindsight, I appreciate how my parents gave my imagination space and permission to fly, and let me see where it could take me. That has definitely contributed to my sense of "anything is possible!" when it comes to things I want to create today.

I know I smashed my thumb at least once in the excitement, but knowing hammer privileges might be revoked, I kept my mouth shut. And in my experimental play, kept my mind open... to this day. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Enter 2013

Alrighty... I know I haven't posted in FORever. Well, I think a month is like forever in blogland. But here I am, excuses in hand, just about ready to get back on track for the new year. I say "just about", because the last month in my world has been about keeping up with my customers' (and my own) slew of ideas and projects, wrapping, shipping, organizing, assessing, and planning what I want to accomplish in this fresh, new year. It's also been an important time for family, giving back, reflection, prayers, and fitting in a little time here and there to acknowledge the wonders of the season (including witnessing my very first winter halo!).

my first lunar halo, and pics from my shipping department

Let's face it, with everything that has occurred in this country (and worldwide) in the home stretch of 2012, many of us have been in a bit of a tailspin. The happy take is, that once the dust settles, we can charge forward with a fresh perspective on things, (and for me, at least) an even greater determination to make good things happen, great and small, and make the most of the time and resources we're all given. Each of us has a purpose, a reason for being here, whether or not we realize it, and each of us has been given what we need to accomplish that end, if we figure it out and focus.
A little known fact about me: I love Latin, even though I never studied it, and I think a couple of my favorite phrases are very apropos right now:

carpe diem- sieze the day
vincit qui patitur- he conquers who endures
I expect to be back on track with posting this month, hopefully things that interest a wider audience. In the meantime, I've been breezing through my facebook page with updates, since it's a quick way to share- feel free to visit me there ;o)
oh, and Happy New Year!!!