Monday, June 13, 2011

New Website and Tour!!

Guess what?  I have moved!!!... check out the new website and tour over here!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

PeachHoneyPreemie Website Debut!!

The PeachHoneyLove website is almost complete, but do you want to see the new PeachHoneyPreemie Website?... come on over for a mini-debut and tour!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

March For Preemie Babies!

It's that time of year, when we dig down into our wallets, put on our running shoes, and MARCH FOR PREEMIE BABIES!!  This march is near and dear to my heart, being a NICU nurse, but I'm sure we all have a connection with these fragile babies.  Visit the March for Babies website to search for walks in your area, or if you're in the Sacramento area come walk with me on April 30th at the California State Capitol!!  You can make donation via my website.  Thanks for you support!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Morning Jolt...

You know when you get a jolt of inspiration, and everything seems possible?  Well, I was at the receiving end of that jolt a few times today.  It all started when I visited A Creative Mint, only to discover she had a new blog design... fresh, airy, lovely.  I read her newest post to find out she teamed up with Jo Klima, from The Darling Tree, to create this new site.  I was struck by love when I looked through Jo's portfolio.  I tell you, I have never swooned so hard.  Her designs are so beautiful and soft, and capture everything wonderful about the site she's designing for.  How could I not contact her... still waiting for a response, but I'm still buzzing.

Gypsy Girl's Guide design by Jo

Boho Girl's design by Jo

The second person who rocked my world was Erin Darcy, who created Boho Girl's beautiful logo/header.  Ethereal and safe.  That's what I want the PeachHoneyPreemie logo to be... safe.  So, as you would expect, I contacted her as well.  I'll keep you posted.  Visit her shop here.

Painting and Photo by Erin Darcy

The third person to make my day was Michelle Staley, the creator of the Busy Breather's Oxygen Backpack.  I talked a little bit about her here, but my telephone conversation with her this morning was AMAZING!!  The high I got from talking to her could probably last me all year.  I'm always blown away by the generosity of others, and Michelle is oh so generous!!  And she's a NICU momma, too...  so we had a quite the connection.  I can't wait to really start working with her via Mommy Millionaire.  Check out her wonderful product here.

I'm so excited I could just pee!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Somethings gotta give...

Ok, guys... here's the deal.  The website design is coming along.  Coding my website has become a definite challenge... poor Tara has had her hands full with my endless questions.  If you follow me on Twitter, you have witnessed my difficulty.  Endless tweets on "How do I do..." "Why isn't this working?"... blah, blah, blah.  Thankfully, Tara and Danielle are incredibly helpful and patient. 

I'm going to contact my sewing contractor (in San Rafael) today to set up a date to meet and, hopefully, start production.  This is so surreal to me, but oh so exciting.  I'm also having a conference call with Michelle Staley, a mommy of a preemie, who created the Busy Breather's Oxygen backpack... seriously, check her out!!  She saw a void in the preemie market and filled it with this amazing product.  Sound familiar?  Well, I'm having a quick 20 min consultation with her to get as much info as I can (I'm writing down questions in between these blogging thoughts).  If I can be half as successful as she is I will count my myself extremely lucky.  

My diet is changing, which means more time grocery shopping, and definitely more time cooking.  Frequent trips to the farmer's market, coupon clipping (after watching the first episode of Extreme Couponing... ummm, hello?), and cooking lessons have become great bonding times between my husband and me.  Loving that.

My garden is flourishing, we're planting 16 more plants today, and a tree.  Guys, I was not built for manual labor, but I have a wonderful husband that doesn't mind doing the digging.   Gotta love that man.  I have to admit, the tan on my shoulders after a few hours of swingin' a shovel is a big bonus.  I did buy this little fashion statement a couple weeks ago (taken with my camera phone).

Everything comes with a price, and mine is less time to write.  I know I'm not the only one that has trouble balancing, but I feel guilty... so guilty.  Something has to give... and unfortunately, it has to be the blog for now.  There are so many aspects of the business that need to be figured out, and I just don't have time for everything.  Is anyone else feeling guilty about putting something on the back burner?  Please tell me I'm not the only one.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Week18: Interview with Jenny Alexander

Please welcome Jenny Alexander to the blog today.  She is an indie artist, from Lancaster, PA, and is here to talk to us about the wonders of being a mommy, business woman, and creative superstar!!

How did you get started as an artist?  Did you always want to own your own business?

I always wanted to be an artist of some kind and but never even imagined that it might happen one day.  I've dabbled in photography from about age 9 or 10.  My dad was a professional photographer and I grew up shooting photos with him and with a darkroom in our basement that we used all the time.  It was where I really felt the need to create for the first time. I dreamed of being a professional art photographer for many years.

I really found my "place" in live performing venues.  It's strange because I was always very shy as a child but was able to be more bold onstage.  

In college, I met and teamed up with the man who, years later, would be my husband and we began a 10 year career as professional magicians.  We traveled all over the country performing for corporations and at private events and we finally put down roots in Las Vegas.  We headlined there together at Caesars Palace for about seven years and in other venues around the city until we were expecting our first child in 2004.

Once our son was born, I continued on in the show but it eventually became more difficult as he got a little older.  I joke that I retired but really I left the show to be able to stay home more with him.  I gave up the bright lights, celebrity encounters, huge crowds for the quiet joys of motherhood.  It's a choice that I never regretted, although I may make a return to the stage someday!  

It was during this time that I began dreaming of having a career that would allow me to be home, yet still express myself creatively and be successful.

And it was around the time that our second child was born (a little girl this time), that I began creating the technique that I use now.  I use vintage ephemera - old advertisements, antique wallpaper patterns, old sheet music, love letters, greeting cards and art papers.  I collage these together in what I call kaleidoscope collages.  I take a section of the original image and repeat it so that it mocks the look of a kaleidoscope.  The backgrounds are layered with additional vintage images.  It's an intricate look and process and one that I hope is unique and recognizable as my style. I hope that viewers can see a piece and know that it's mine just because of the feel and look.

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration EVERYWHERE.  I keep a notebook in my car, keep notes on my phone, remember ideas in my head and try to write them down before I forget them!  I'm completely inspired by old things like antiques, vintage items, old photographs, old letters.  I feel like these things have held onto a piece of the energy from the person who owned them and I love to dream about what life must have been like for that person, at that time.  

I'm also very inspired by music.  When I hear a song that really moves me, I challenge myself to create a piece that mimics that feeling.  I try to create images that tell a story.. through the feel of the piece, the title, the colors and textures, the type of description that I give each one.  It's important to me to give the viewer something to emotionally grab a hold of when seeing the piece.  And I like to give my buyers a story to tell along with the piece to adorn their walls.

How do you balance being a mother, artist, and business woman?  What is your typical daily schedule?

Oh my.  Well, some days I don't balance it very well! With three small kids in the house, (they are all under 6!) things are sometimes a little unpredictable.  An added challenging element is that my husband is still a performing magician and he's often gone on cruise ships for a week or two at a time.  So, everything is on my shoulders during those times and, honestly, it's not easy.  I like to think that I handle things gracefully and everyone says that I do.  I hope they're not just being nice!

Mornings are pretty crazy getting my oldest two kids ready for school and on the bus.  I always make sure I have time for coffee and a quick email check.  I can usually address one or two quick emails first thing in the morning while the kids have breakfast.

My little one is almost 21 months old and, once the kids are on the bus, we have breakfast together and I can get some work done during Sesame Street.  Thank goodness for Elmo.  Really, really, really.

He plays in the studio while I work and that sometimes goes well, depending on his mood that day.  I'm sure all moms understand that some days kids just need more attention, are grumpy or just plain difficult.  My baby is generally so happy-go-lucky and I'm a lucky Mama that I can do everything that I do with him hanging out alongside me.

His naptime lasts about 3 hours and that's when I hit the work HARD. No stopping by twitter to check on everybody, no peeking at facebook for a quick chat.  If you follow me on any of those places, you'll notice that I disappear from all my normal social media hangouts in the afternoon!

During this time, I'm doing the actual work.  Getting orders "in process," packing up new orders for my daily trip to the post office, working out new ideas and techniques, answering business emails, working on my wholesale contacts and getting into the thickest part of my work day. It's hard to do all that I need to in those few hours and some days, I am literally running.  I save the "leftovers" of work for later on, after the kids are in bed.

Once the kids are home from the bus, it's all family time.  Dinner, homework, playing, reading, baths, snuggles, bedtime.  It's the best part of the day. Those quiet moments tucking them in and whispering in the dark, their faces lit only by their nightlights, reminds me why I work so hard.  It's so I can be home for every moment of their childhood, be their role model, be their best friend, be a great Mama and teach them to be good people making wise and loving choices in their lives.

And I'm proud that my kids see me doing what I love, balancing a pretty tough schedule and making it work.  They see me trying new things every day, sometimes failing but getting up and moving on.  I hope that they learn from me to be passionate and be flexible.  It's what has gotten me where I am right now.

What advice can you give to beginning Etsy sellers?

First off, be patient.  Chances are, this isn't going to happen overnight for you. It certainly didn't for me. Etsy is a huge community with so many sellers and buyers.  Make it as easy as you can to be seen.  Take great photos with some personality.  If I see a product, I'd love to know right away that it was yours, just from the feel of the photo.

Another great tip that I have I usually save for good friends but, we're all good friends here, right?  My biggest break so far was being in an Etsy Finds email.  It was last year and was themed around the movie Eat, Pray, Love.  I actually contacted Etsy about curating a find based on this myself but it was already in the works with an Etsy administrator as curator.  I was excited to be included in the Finds a few weeks later!  I got a ton of sales, contacts, hearts and wholesale contracts. So many eyes saw my shop that week and I'm still riding the wave that it started.

So, here's the nugget of advice... Study what's big in pop culture and tag your items using those things.  Movies, pop culture icons, upcoming holidays (even random ones).  Think like an Etsy admin.  What hip and unique thing could they possibly have their eyes on that might fit with something you make?  Don't stretch it too far and try to draw a ridiculous line between the two things but pick some keywords or phrases and put them in your tags or descriptions as it fits.  My item was black and white henna designs on stone coasters.  They were rustic and warm and I tagged them with "India" and "Eat, Pray, Love."  It was an easy match for Etsy with a nice, clean photo. It made a huge boost in my business and I hope it might do the same for you!

Can you give 5 things that have kept your business successful?

Innovation - All of my collage work is square and I am constantly looking for ways to use those square images... throw pillows, candle holders, magnets, coasters.  Everything I do is pretty much square so it's an easy mold to fill when looking for new ways to use my images. Having new items keeps me interested and hopefully keeps my shop new and fresh for those die hard customers.  Plus, I only make things that I personally love.  That way, even if the new idea doesn't fly, I can keep them for myself!

Flexibility - Whether it be with your daily schedule, fitting in your passion around a full time job or family, flexibility is the key to evolving.  When I feel stuck on an idea and just can't find my way through it, I relax and try to work around the issue, instead of forcing a solution that might not be perfect.  I try not to be too hard on myself and to roll with the punches.  I also do a number of art shows throughout the year and flexibility is a MUST for those!

Face time - Speaking of doing live shows, I think that's so important.  You've got to get out there to see what people are really drawn to.  I have been able to focus my style and product lines so much more easily by doing art/craft shows.  You get to meet your customer and see what they want, see what questions they ask and work on your presentation.  Having this presentation or "elevator pitch" helps you to succinctly express exactly what it is that you do.  This comes in handy in so many situations!  

Down time - Take a break!  As creative, small business owners, we are constantly thinking, creating, networking and DOING.  It's exhausting and I often don't realize it until it's too late and I'm overwhelmed.  So, try along with me to remember to just *stop* a few times during the day.  If I'm not physically working, I'm thinking, planning, conceiving new ideas.  But I've got to take a break, especially in my head!  Even if it's just sitting down with a cup of coffee and watching some Elmo with my baby and having a giggle.  It's just the small break that I need.

Confidence - One thing that I've learned by tackling all of this on my own, is that I can do anything.  If I can run a household, raise three kids, build a business and not go crazy, then I can do ANYTHING. And so can you!  We've all got a ton on our plates while growing businesses, following our dreams and loving those around us.  With good time management, loving support from our families and the energy that momentum brings, we are really unstoppable.  Go for it and share your gifts! 

Do you have any projects you want to promote?

I'm currently preparing for my three big East Coast Spring shows and that's keeping me really busy.  I'll be at Crafty Balboa's April Showers show in Philly, April 30th.  

I'm excited to be a new vendor at the highly coveted Art Star Craft Bazaar in Phildaelphia May 14-15th.  It's at the beautiful Penn's Landing and hosts tons of super cool, artsy and innovative vendors.  I'm over the moon to be showing there alongside several Team Handmade in PA sellers.

And I'll be returning to Silver Spring, MD for one of my favorite spring shows, Handmade Mart on May 22nd.  It's such a great show, with fabulous crowds of handmade lovin' folks that really appreciate my style and my work.  It'll be a great way to round out my spring line up.  

If you're on the East coast, please stop by and say hello!  I guarantee these shows will be fabulous!

And, my work is always available online at my Etsy shop.  I'm always working out new ideas, new product lines and one of a kind or short run goodies.  Drop me a line and say hello!  I love hearing from new Etsy sellers and buyers!

All artwork and pictures courtesy of the talented Jenny.  Thank you so much, Jenny, for taking the time to answer some questions.  You are a true inspiration to all of the busy moms, wondering if they can have it all.  What a beautiful life you have.  Wishing you lots of love and success!  THANK YOU!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm being featured here...

Are you curious about how I got started as an artist, my family life, and where the name PeachHoneyLove came from?  Well, you're in luck because the wonderful Suzanne Redmond is interviewing me today over here!  Please check it out and show her some love!

Monday, April 11, 2011

This is proof!!

This is proof my green thumb efforts did not go unnoticed, despite the voles' master plan to ruin my life.

My husband and I were taking full advantage of the beautiful 66 degree weather today by protecting our future veggie babies from another vole invasion.  We decided to empty our raised beds and place a hefty sheet of hardware mesh at the bottom… those voles don't have a chance.  

The first bed was a cinch… no plants, no problem.  I had a couple asparagus plants in the other… ummm… problem.  I must have done something right last season, because one short year transformed a tiny asparagus plant into this gorgeous fern bush with pencil-thick roots.  It took me over an hour to dig out this, obviously established, beauty, but we did it!!

Are you working in the garden this week?

Week 17: Recent Failure

Photo Credit

I'm on such a positive high, but there are two sides to every coin, so let's talk about failures.  We all have them...  difficult days, tasks we don't complete.  It's human to encounter failures, and the best way to deal with them is to accept them, attempt to try again, or sometimes just move on.
1.  I have let some negative comments get to me, and there are a couple that got me questioning my worth.  It sickens me that some random person, who doesn't even know me, could affect me this way, but I'm human and mean words hurt.  Did you know there are people on YouTube whose sole purpose is to scour the web, looking for videos to leave negative comments on?  There is!  I sat and pondered how their lives play out in their head, as if I should be dedicating any time worrying about scum.  The sense of superiority and entitlement they must feel, deciding what should and should not be on the web.  Whatever... moving on.
2.  I haven't painted in quite some time.  I miss it, I really do, but the preemie clothing line, and brand building has been priority number one.  My hope is that sometime soon, after the website is built and my social networking schedule is laid out, I can spend some time in the studio... instead of behind a computer.  I where many hats, and my business bonnet is the one I have on now. 
3.  My studio is still not organized... after a year.  Like I said before, I've been busy.  *sigh*
4. My Eat Clean diet has been MIA, and I feel like crap.  I don't know why I do this to myself.  That chinese take-out was delicious, but I was regretting it the next three days when the salty bloat arrived.  Ok, too much information.  Moving on.
I think that's it for now... but we never know what tomorrow will bring.  What have you been procrastinating with lately?  Any failures you want to get off your chest?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Haul: Michaels

A quick trip to Michaels made my day!  Check out all the great Golden products I scored!

Links for this video

This video was not sponsored by any brands mentioned.  If you ever have any questions about the products I use, or talk about, please don't hesitate to email me. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to be the first to view my videos (they usually are posted on the channel a couple days before the blog post is published). Thanks for watching!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Encaustic love…

Artwork and Photo by Bridgette

Just because I'm so obsessed with encaustic paintings nowadays… check out this post on images + wax. And because I can't help myself, here are some more pieces to drool over.

All Roads Lead to Forever by Michelle Belto
Encaustic, Tar, Torch on Handmade Paper

Antique Garden by Michelle Belto
Torch, Tar, Beeswax, Damar, Cotton, Abaca on Artist Made Cast Paper
18" x 18"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Judy Wise

I don't care what the rest of the painting looks like, even though the finished painting is stunning.  I'm so blown away by the pieces Judy Wise creates.  I stared at these pictures for a half hour, studying every nook and cranny of the textured surface.  It looks like caramel dripped over white icing.  Oh, Lord, why do I need to turn everything into a food reference? I NEED to know how she created this!

Artwork and Photo by Judy

Artwork and Photo by Judy

Who inspires you?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rainbow Blooms...

This weekend was everything I love about spring.  Eating at the resort, aka my parent's backyard, multiple trips to Home Depot, and oogling over the colorful plants at Green Acres Nursery.  Love.  Hank was, of course, delighted he was able to lay in the sun all day, and I was pretty pleased myself.  The sun is like therapy to me... it's just what I need to get rid of the anxious thoughts rolling around in my head.  I can just breathe and focus on the cool breeze hitting my face.

I took a trip to the farmer's markets.  The sun was shining, Thank the Lord, and the air was warm.  I was dying for this day.  It's the beginning of fresh fruit season, so there isn't a whole lot in season right now.  I didn't get much, but I did stumble upon this bouquet of rainbow hapiness.  Oh boy, you belong on my table.

I love Ranunculus!!  The delicate petals are endless.  The sunniness doesn't stop.  If I could find a bunch of white ranunculus, my life would be complete!!

What did you do this weekend?

Week 16: A Recent Success

Photo Credit

There are many points along my journey I would consider successes.  By the way, it's ok to be happy for ourselves.  We celebrate each other, so let's give ourselves some props.  We deserve it!  I talked about enjoying the little things in this post, but let me reiterate we have to celebrate the small steps we reach along our road to greatness.  Every little step counts… EVERY ONE.

Our life is made up of many successes, so why focus on one.  Here are a few of the things I'm proud of…

1. I'm figuring out how to build and maintain my own website.  This is HUGE!!  I'm not a technical person, and often have to turn to Brandi and Laura for help.  I'm putting on my big girl britches, and taking it on myself.

2. I haven't had another breakdown, since this one.  I set a schedule for myself, and I'm making it work.  The schedule isn't set in stone.. it's adaptable to the craziness that is my life.  We have to be willing to bend to life's will because there will be days when we can't stand to do anything, but sleep.  So sleep, tomorrow is another day.

3. I'm making tremendous headway with the Preemie clothing line.  There are times we get excited about little opportunities that cross our paths, and when the high starts to fade, so does the project.  The preemie line is NOT the case.  My heart and soul is in this project, and it's going to be incredible!!

4. My backyard is finally getting a facelift.  The weeds are being pulled as I type, we planted 11 plants this weekend, and have plans next weekend to start laying down bark.  Now I need a chaise lounge to enjoy my hard work.

What are you proud of?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Surprise, you've got mail!

I got a lovely little package in the mail today!  Some new Joel Dewberry fabric to play with... I'm in love!! His Aviary collection is so fresh, and is everything I love about Spring.  It's been awhile since I spent the entire day sewing, and this fabric is just the excuse to jump back in the pool.  I'm still determined to open the PeachHoneyPreemie in July, so I need to get crackin!

The hard part, at least for me, about being introduced to a new fabric designer is that my "have to have it" brain is now dying to buy everything is the collection.  Remember my shopping addiction?  How can you not love everything?

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

This weekend is going to be filled with family and food, and I need it!!  Hope all of you have a blessed weekend!

Making it mine, not hers...

I'm deep in the thick of Scoutie Girl's Website Kickstart eCourse.  I'm making the switch to WordPress, which is exciting, but I'm definitely lamenting over learning a new skill.  Coding, IP addresses, and plugins are definitely not my thing.

Have you ever struggled to learn a new skill?  What did you do to cope?

I'm building my website, and including only the bits and pieces I want.  It's so hard making it mine, not hers.  I'm scanning through my favorite websites, and looking at what keeps me there (I'm greedy, so it's usually eBooks).  I don't want to imitate anyone, but it's extremely difficult to make that final decision and answer the question, "What do you want?"  

Then, Tara asks us the question... "What is the ONE thing you want your visitors to DO?"  I never thought of asking myself that before.  I just put content in the sidebar that I thought should be there, in no particular order.  I didn't make things mine, just picked what was offered.  I didn't change the colors, or the shape, or open photoshop to try to create something new.  Why not?  It's mine, and it's a reflection of me and my business.  So, I'm finally looking within to figure out what I want.  

Shouldn't we all know what we want, and do our best to obtain it?  What do you want?

My new toy, the light diffuser...

I got a new toy.  I was so impressed with the pictures Lindsey took at the Bloggy Boot Camp last week, with her big fancy light apparatus (a light diffuser, for those of you more technically inclined)... I had to get me one.  Yes, the grammatically correct portion of this post is officially over.

I couldn't afford this one, or this one, so I decided to go with this one, the Gary Fong Puffer - Pop-Up Flash Diffuser.  The training wheel version of photography supplies.  

Photo Credit

Yes, I need training wheels because it has taken me 27 years to realize I'm an impulse buyer, where money is a very small factor in my decision making.  Please help.  I'm in need of a 12 step program, but I'm getting better, and this is proof.  I bought this little muffin for $12 on Amazon.  Can you say, "Score?"

Ok, so let's put it to work.  Hanky Stanky was a willing participant... well, up until the end.  I know it's very slight, but when you use the diffuser you get rid of that hotspot of light happening on Hank's chest and the carpet below him.  The light is uniform across the entire picture.  I know... you can't stop swooning over that sweet little face.

Ok, let's look at some more pics and talk a little bit about editing "diffused" pictures.

The first thing to notice about these two hydrangea pictures, is the uniform brightness the diffuser gives.  The picture taken without the diffuser has deep shadows in between the petals, and a sharp shadow around the bottom of the flowers.  The diffused picture has a shadow, but it's softened, and doesn't stand out... the flowers are the focal point, as they should be.

The other bonus to using the diffuser is you can lighten the entire picture, without the fear of over exposure.  When I began to increase the exposure of the non-diffused picture, I could only go so far before I began to "blow-out" portions of the petals.  You can only make your whites so bright, before your picture is full of data gaps... absent space.  I had much more control over the diffused picture... I could tweak my levels exactly how I wanted.  I love having control. 

Well, folks... that's all I have for now.  Just a short review from a couple hours practice.  I like what I've seen, so far, but I'm sure I'll be ready to ditch the training wheels and spring for the upgrade in the coming months.  I just can't help myself.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two days in bed...

If I have ever said I wanted to spend a couple days in bed doing nothing... I lied!!  I have an eye infection which has left me in bed, eyes closed, with a cold compress for two days.  I should still have my eyes closed, but I have decided to turn down the brightness on the computer (same with the TV), and power through.  But I can tell this will be a short post because as I type tears are streaming down my face.

Time for a break.

Ok, I'm back.  I stupidly fell asleep with my contacts still in... I could have torn out my eyes when I woke up the next morning in excruciating pain.  It was Sunday, so there was nothing I could do, but wait until Monday with the eye clinic opened.  I spent Sunday in bed, and after my appointment on Monday, I spent the rest of the day listening to the TV, in pain, but bored to tears... literally.

Thankfully, I have a doting husband, who tended to my every need.  He cooked for me, heated my tea every 30min, put foil on the windows to block out any hint of light, and even brought the dog in to "give mommy kisses."

Time for another break.

The worst part is that after the two weeks of rain, it's been gorgeous the last couple days, and I've been stuck in darkness.  Ahhhhh!!!  The other bad part... I've missed you guys!!!

So, I finally got some fabric samples in the mail.  No, they weren't from any of the out-of-date companies from my fashiondex, but from my 3 hour Google search, I was forced to partake in at 1am one sleepless night.  I'm still waiting for two more packages, but they're very very promising.  The fabrics are soft and gorgeous, and perfect for screenprinting.  More good stuff to come... it's good to be back!   

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cravings: Prismacolor NuPastels

This video is my justification for going art supply shopping.  Every now and then I find something I can't believe I lived without.  At first, I wasn't too impressed with the Nupastels, but continued to work with them and found just what I was looking for.  A new watercolor!!  Check out the video below!

NuPastel Flesh Colors

Links from this video (in no particular order)

This video was not sponsored by any brands mentioned.  If you ever have any questions about the products I use, or talk about, please don't hesitate to email me. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to be the first to view my videos (they usually are posted on the channel a couple days before the blog post is published). Thanks for watching!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It Rains in California...

Photo Credit

It's storming outside.  Wind, rain and lightening have all shown up for the party.  For those of you who think it never rains in California... you're so wrong.  We even had hail for about 5 minutes last night... not so bueno for my radish seedlings I just transplanted outside.  I had a few broken leaves this morning, and my asparagus ferns were swaying violently against it's trellis.  The first day of spring was a week ago, and it hasn't stopped raining.  I've been pulling weeds in between periods of storming.  Yes, I've been squishing through the mud, taking full advantage of the forgiving wet soil. 

Hank's favorite pastime is sunbathing, so he's not a happy puppy.  He spent most of the morning staring out the window into the rainy abyss, and now he's taken to moping in the corner.  It's a rough life when you're stuck inside.  

I, unfortunately, have to return to work today.  I must make the 45 minute drive to work, amongst the bad drivers and horrible conditions.  My husband is off of work today, and I am longing to take a nap with him and the dog.  Instead I'm cooking for the week, and finishing up laundry.  *sigh*

Rain, rain, please go away.

Hardware Store Inspiration

I finally got my fashiondex in the mail today!  I spent the first 2 hours of my days combing through the pages, and sending emails to prospective fabric companies.  There were a lot... A LOT!  There were emails out of date, closed companies, and most of them advertised products they didn't really carry.  I have only received 1 email, out of 30, that said they carried baby rib fabric.  A little discouraging.  A lot frustrating.  What does a girl have to do to get what she wants?  The search continues.

To lighten my mood, I went on a search for some inspiration.  I've been obsessed with patterns, lately.  I'm thinking of doing some baby room art to go along with the preemie clothing line.  Pale colors, simple designs.  Something sweet with a modern twist.  Good idea?

Anyway, Leslie and Sharilyn gave me the geometric buzz.  It's a good buzz to have.  

Journal and Photo by Leslie

Pattern by Sharilyn

I know this may seem odd, but I went to my dad's Plumbing Wholesale company in search of some new shapes.  I hit the motherload!!  My father and his brother own Thrifty Supply Co Inc (I wish they had a website because I would link to it).  The business was started by my grandfather, Ron, when his sons were very young, and has flourished over the years.

The warehouse has aisles and aisles of pipe fittings, tubing, nuts, bolts... and lots of things that are completely foreign to me.  I asked my dad if he could help me find some interesting patterns among the boxes of plumping goodies, and of course he got right to it.  He knows where everything is!  The place is the size of Disneyland... I don't know how he does it.  I'm not going to lie... I got lost.  As soon as I thought our shopping trip was done, he would say, "Wait, I have one more thing."  I sparked a little creativity today.  It feels good.

I got some great stuff!  I have no idea what anything is, I just know they have equally spaced perfect circles and squares.  It doesn't take much to make me happy.  Excuse me as I drool.  Ooooh.... pretty.  

My loot
Where do you find unsuspecting inspiration?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Playing with NuPastels...

I'm playing today.  I'm taking a break from marketing, emails, Facebook, and my to do list to just play.  It feels good to ignore my responsibilities every now and again.  Let me rephrase that... it feels good to focus on my artistic side, instead of my business side.  Better?

It's been awhile since I taped a cravings, and it's been even longer since I tried out a new product.   The NuPastels have been sitting on my drafting table for the last month, ever since I taped this Haul.  Yes, it's been that long.  I broke out the tortillons, mineral spirits, and my new brushes and dug right in.

I played around with my pencil.  Sketched lightly, without hesitation.  I didn't worry about how far apart my eyes were because there were none.  I had only one focus.  Experiment.  It didn't have to be perfect, just practice.  

Want to learn more about the NuPastels?  I'm getting down and dirty on Friday with a new video.

White blooms...

My hubby and I took a trip to Trader Joe's yesterday.  As soon as you walk through the door you're greeted by buckets of fresh flowers.  I can't resist, even though Joseph whispers in my ear, "We don't need any more flowers."  Of course we do.  The blooms is the upstairs bathroom are turning brown, so it's time to restock.  I want the hubby to have a relaxing experience while taking care of business, even though he's fine with Golf Digest.

Hydrangea's are my all-time favorite flower.  Big, fluffy, white clouds of happiness.  I'm praying my trees take off in the backyard, so my shady areas will give way to fruitful bushes full of these lovelies.  

What flowers makes you swoon?

Monday, March 21, 2011

A List Compilation from Bloggy Boot Camp

Brandi and Me... more pics here

5 things Tiffany taught me... 
1. Successful women can support each other... we don't need to live up to the stereotype of being catty and competitive.
2. Be original!
3. There's room for everyone on the web.
4. Take your business seriously, or else no one will.
5. Your time = $

5 Things Brandi and I have in common:
1. We keep chapstick by our bedsides, for the middle of the night applications.
2. We take off our wedding rings before going to bed.
3. We are not morning people, and can't engage in conversation before 9am and/or two cups of coffee.
4. We love chai tea lattes.
5. We over pack, and then regret it later.

How to make a flight more enjoyable... brought to you by our flight attendant, Todd
1. Greet every single customer with a smile.
2. Sing Happy Birthday to unsuspecting passengers.
3. Have toys available for kids on board.
4. While passing out complimentary pretzels, call them "eggs and bacon" "turkey and chesse" and "waffles".
5. Sing a song to celebrate our hour long flight.
... I love when people go the extra mile to make people feel great.

my new peeps

Some of the awesome people I met at Bloggy Boot Camp
Brandi of meDesigns
Stephanie of Rock Star Mom
Lindsey of the modchik
Celeste of shallowOcity
Anna of ABDPBT
Tricia and Siana of 2 Girls on a Bench
Kelly of Joggermom

SITS San Diego Bloggy Boot Camp

I'm back home from my SITS Girls Bloggy Boot Camp in San Diego.  Brandi and I had a blast!  We were surrounded by positive and supportive women.  We asked for each other's business cards, shared resources, and offered suggestions.  We tweeted, retweeted, laughed, and even cried.

Brandi and  Me

You know I couldn't have a vacation without a little drama.

After the first presentation I realized I forgot my business cards in my suitcase.  So,  I ran, yes ran, back to the room to grab them.  Did I mention it was a quarter mile?  On my run back to the conference it started to rain.  Perfect.  While trying to take off my sweater to cover my hair (let's face it, no one wants to see what happens to my hair in the rain), I dropped my business cards all over the wet ground.  I looked up to the heavens, and asked, "Why?"

The awesomeness that followed is why.  I'm glad I asked.

My favorite part of the day was sitting and talking with DeNae, an amazing writer and my new hero.  Her presentation had me mesmerized.  During our mingling break, I sat down and asked her, "How do I find my voice?  I'm struggling to find the words to express my constant mind chatter, but finding it even harder to find a voice that is right for the artistic world and my preemie family audience."  She said, "Those are completely different voices, so don't try to make them the same."  So simple.  So powerful.  As an artist I'm loud, sassy, and kinda all over the place.  A a NICU nurse/preemie advocate I'm professional, sometimes stern, but always nurturing and supportive.  Why would I want to force those two voices together?  They need to be separate because their purpose is different.  I don't want to be loud and obnoxious with my NICU families... wrong place, wrong time.  

DeNae & Me (photo by Brandi)

She also said something I was dying to hear.  She said, "You've found your voice.  I can tell."  I could have cried.  I could have wept in front of my new idol.  Ahhhh!!!!  I didn't think I had one, or better yet, I had one buried under fear and hesitation.  I was trying to be someone else.  I was trying to write like other bloggers.  It's so wrong!  I'm not them!!  The purpose for my blog is different, so the voice has to be different.  I don't know why I have such a problem with being myself.  Originality sells.

Tiffany, Fran, and Kat did such an amazing job bringing this group of women together.  Thank you, thank you!!!

Week 15... follow up on my goals.

In Week 4, I outlined my creative goals for 2011... and I had some big goals.  Well, we're in the 3rd month of the new year, so let's check in to see how I'm doing.

1. Design my website... We're starting off on the right foot because the website redesign in well under way.  I've nailed down my color scheme, started to sift through my "must have's" and "I don't wants" on my sidebar, and thanks to Laura, am creating my tabs/pages.  I've been toying with the idea of switching to wordpress, but am a little terrified of the upkeep.  Tara Gentile is offering her Website Kickstart Class again, and because I don't have enough to do... yeah right... I'm really thinking of taking it.  Does anyone have any experience with Wordpress?  Did you like it? Do they have the capability to host your own shop?

Graphic by Tara

2. Finish my first collection by the end of 2011... This goal, unfortunately, has taken a backseat to the preemie clothes, and the commissioned painting I'm working on at the moment.  Poor Claire has been in limbo, sitting on my drafting table, waiting for me to get it together.  Someday soon I hope to have a couple hours to spend with her.

3. Open my PeachHoneyLove Etsy shop by end of Summer 2011... To be honest I'm not sure if this is going to happen.  The PHP clothing line is taking up the bulk on my time, but once the prototypes are complete, and the shop is open, I will have a lot more time to devote to my paintings... I hope.

4. Open my PeachHoneyPreemie Etsy shop by the beginning of Summer 2011... This is definitely happening.  I have about 20 blankets and 10 fitted sheets complete, 8 blanket and 5 sheets pinned, and fabric remnant strips that need to be sewn into ribbons for packaging.  I am still working on the patterns for two more fitted sheet sizes, and I need to print some postcards to include in each order.  We're almost there.... Monday, July 11th is my target date.  Everyone cross your fingers.

5. Finish 5 PeachHoneyPreemie clothing prototypes by the end of 2011...  We are definitely in business.  We have two patterns down, and 3 to go.  I started calling companies for fabric samples, and Sacramento Contractors about producing my line.  No luck yet, but I keep trucking along.  I may have to just bite the bullet and take the trip to San Leandro.

6. Take an encaustic painting class...  Not yet, but I have just learned my local Learning Exchange offers multiple encaustic classes during the year.  Yay for me!!

Painting & Photo by  Judy Wise

7. Start a family... Unfortunately, not yet, but I do have this sweet little muffin to come home to.

Photo by me

8. Sketch more...  also on the back burner.  I wish I could find the time to balance everything that makes my heart go pitter patter.  Do you find it hard to balance everything you're interested in?  How do you manage the chaos? Oh, by the way, Check out Heather's blog!!  Her Sunday Sketches are amazing, and I hope to be half as good with some practice.

Sketch & Photo by Heather

Sketch & Photo by Heather

I think I'm doing pretty good... it's only March, right?  9 more months to go.  Don't forget about my 101 things in 1001 days... Hope to have an update soon.  Have a great week!!


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