Tuesday, June 28, 2016

💡 One Tip Tuesday: Roll Call

I'm so ashamed (okay, not really ashamed). I started One Tip Tuesday a few years back, with nothing but good intentions, but other things got in the way of those good intentions. 

But it's never too late to amend one's ways and to try again to get it right. So I'm recommitting to this, because I have a laundry list of things I'd like to share on the creative, DIY, and art fronts. In many years of building, tearing apart, and rebuilding my studio, the work I do there, and my approach, I have managed to create shortcuts, time savers, and my own favorite approach to everything from making things, planning things, and being organized while doing those things. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely not touting myself as some sort of expert. But I do want to share (for anyone who is interested) things I've figured out along the way that have made my life easier. I actually would like my whole blog to take something of that tone. BUT the purpose of OTT (WHOA- I just made it an acronym! And we're on our way!!) is quick tips in short posts that I share, that can be reshared, and that I can refer back to myself. These are meant to be no-fuss quickies that I hope will have value, based on my own experience, not on things I read about something I have never tried. So, for instance, this will probably be the single longest OTT, as I'm rambling about my personal ground rules. Going forward, comprehensive info on any of the tips will hopefully not be necessary, as this will just be a couple pictures and a short paragraph. That way, hopefully, I can stay on track with it. And I can still answer questions in comments. I am still shooting to do longer posts on specific projects and techniques, but those would be something separate. 

If you already follow my blog, you may know that I struggle to find time for ONE post a month. Don't worry, you won't suddenly receive twice-weekly post notifications with ads and begging for shares, lol. Like you, I don't have a bunch of time to devote to blogging or reading blogs. But I am hoping to achieve more reasonable consistency, without writing useless fluff.

All that said, here is the first in the new chapter of One Tip Tuesdays. Today I'm sharing some of the useful rolled stuff I try to keep on hand in the studio.  Here's a shortlist:

  • Clear Plastic Wrap- great for lining molds to make pulling items out when they're dry easier. Also great for stretch wrapping items together, no hair dryer required.
  • wax paper- ball up into shapes for sculpture armatures, use as homemade transfer paper, wrap leftover clays short term, disposable palette paper
  • GLAD brand Press'n Seal- cover leftover paint in pots or on a palette to use later, seal small parts onto bigger things so they are visible and won't get lost, short term patch for rips
  • freezer paper- create a non-stick work surface, draw on the non-coated side like banner paper
  • banner roll- mount onto a curtain rod to create a continuous sketch area on a wall or table, use to create a smooth, seamless backround for pictures, use as a heavy duty wrapping medium- stamp patterns for custom paper
  • dollar store brown wrapping paper (in print or plain) wrap things big and small, crumple to fill boxes or bags, make gift bags, cover salvaged boxes, books, or cans for storage
  • thrift store fabrics- keep on hand for all kinds of quick projects: patching things, covering things, making scented sachets, covering things, adding layers to projects, photo backgrounds
The possibilities are endless. I don't think I  even covered half. And having these around for a last minute or unexpected project makes my life easier.  Hope this tip gives you some inspiration to make yours easier, too. Feel free to share your own uses in comments! Rock and roll! (sorry 😛)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

{Sharp} Silver Linings

who's the culprit?

Whether it is apparent or not, it feels like I am constantly working on making progress in some aspect of my art or my business around my work. It's really an almost daily commitment for me. But sometimes things throw me off track, only to set me back down even further along than I planned. For example, about a week ago, this happened→

I was sitting at my desk in my studio editing pictures, and I kept hearing a funny tapping sound. I ignored it at first, but it kept up, so I got up to investigate. And I found that one of the two windows in my studio had somehow shattered, or buckled, or imploded- whatever. Glass dust and particles were slowly falling in. 

please don't rainGood thing (and I warn you there are a number in this post) I've had enough years of mishaps that I've now trained myself to bypass the freak out and the thoughts of inconvenience, productivity setbacks, general pain in the..., etc. (at least initially). Yes, I finally learned what a waste of time and energy moaning, groaning, and getting all upset is. Instead I used the energy to quickly move things away from the window and focus on making things as safe as possible. So I dragged out the ladder I keep in my studio and rigged this up until someone could come and take a look at it.

 sidenote: A few weeks back (with skepticism) I bought a roll of duct tape from the Dollar Tree store in my neighborhood.
It had a chance to prove
 itself here, and it did.
Not only does it have a snazzy
print, it seemed just as strong as the
more expensive stuff. #yestothat

broken windows, not broken dreams
pardon my dust

Later that day, a guy showed up, took measurements to have a new pane of glass made, and complimented me on my studio and my tape up job. I felt better knowing that things were moving towards a fix, and once he left, I added a tarp to catch any stray glass. I really didn't want to spend the next few weeks making bloody discoveries of tiny pieces of glass that had fallen in and on things. Once the tarp was up, and the place where my white box (that I use for picture taking) was cleared and covered in plastic, Good thing #2: (3?? I don't think I've included them all) I was able to go back to working on things that don't take place in that corner (no excuses!). 
taking pics outsideAfter a few days of not being able to work in that corner, I decided to take the white box outside to try getting some pictures done.  I set it up on a plastic deck chair in the sunlight, and it worked like a charm (yeah, another good thing!). 

My new pane of glass was installed a couple days ago, and much of the broken glass cleared by the glazier. I still had the task of removing the plastic shield I had created, which had a bunch of scary pieces still just hanging there in it, all sharp and stabby. I finally got my mind to the task, got up on my ladder with goggles, dust mask (just short of a hazmat suit), and the long hose on my vacuum cleaner and tackled it. Once I had removed all the glass I could find, removed the tarps and all the plastic, and given the whole spot a good obsessive compulsive vacuuming, I was ready to start putting everything (especially my white box!) back, so I could get back to photos, etc. over there.

And once you start (here comes another one) something like that, it often just snowballs. And this case was no exception. So I ended up putting things back better than they were before, including some bonus cleaning and purging things I don't need any more. And now I am sitting here typing this, and looking at that corner thinking of what else I can do to make things more efficient, neat, and productive. That stupid broken window helped me fix something else! #Perspective, my friends. Perspective.

PS: It is so true, that a clean, organized work space is very inspiring (time to make some messes!)
PPS: I never figured out what broke the window. Meteor maybe?
PPPS: I got my white box years ago. You can find a similar one (plus links to other tools I use) in my tools storefront on Amazon.

nice and tidy