Did you ever feel that you were running in lots of directions at once? Lately, that is exactly how things have felt for me. I have been busy from the time I wake until the time I finally go to sleep, but have been going from one thing to another to yet another.
I don't think that this is a bad thing at all, really. Because in the process, I am checking off a lot of things that I wanted to get done and in the end, accomplishing a great deal. To the outsider, it may not look like a lot, but when I think of the 'emotional real estate' that I am freeing up, I realize that these little pieces of the puzzle that are slowly falling together are far more important than I initially thought. As each piece finds its place, no matter how small it may be, it allows room for my mind to focus on something else. Ideally that would be designing, and as I check off these small things one by one, I do find that my thoughts are heading towards new designs and ideas for projects. It is a process though, and can't seem to be rushed or forced.
I am certain that many of my colleagues go through this process often – especially when they have changes in their lives. But recognizing that this is just part of 'life' and allowing things to work themselves out is probably the best way to get through things. For someone who is proactive, such as I am, it is not always easy to allow things to run their course. My first reaction is to force things along. But that only seems to raise the anxiety level and make things worse, thus slowing the process overall. I am finding it is best to 'just do what I can' and accept my own limitations and let everything run its course and follow the process. Being patient with myself is what will work best. We are always learning new lessons about life, aren't we? Perhaps mellowing out a little bit isn't a bad thing.
As a result of this, my blogs here may not seem as 'organized' as they have been in the past. I may seem to jump around a little bit more than usual, as even though I am doing lots of small things at once, I still feel many of them merit showing you all and may be of interest. I hope you agree.
I'll start out today with sharing some wonderful things I got from the Artist's Club the other day. They continue to be one of my favorite suppliers of books and art supplies. (And let's face it – whether you paint or do woodwork, you have to love new art supplies, right?)
At this time (until October 9th) they have an offer that includes FREE SHIPPING for all orders over $50. That includes CANADA! They have this promotion a couple of times a year and since my palette paper supply was getting low, I thought that I would dive in and see what else I could treat myself to in order to make the $50 cut. Needless to say, I had little trouble reaching (and exceeding!) that goal and got a variety of cool stuff:
What a cool array of art supplies! As you see, there were a few books that I picked up. Even though many of the patterns and books that I buy are now digital, I still love seeing the beautiful color photos and holding the books in my hand. The watercolor book was on clearance and has a variety of techniques and lots of information about that medium. I am sure I will learn a great deal from it. The other two books were impulse buys. I liked the projects that were shown on the website and I thought "one day" I may make them. They kind of went along for the ride with the order.
One thing that I am anxious to try are these cool sponge dabbers by Loew-Cornell:
They are for using with stencilling and for creating interesting backgrounds and they were very inexpensive (under $3 each). There are three different textures available and I got one of each. I will show more of them as I use them and let you all know how I like them.
Another product that I was wanted to purchase was Saral Transfer Paper in grey.
I have found that while I like the DecoArt transfer paper, it is very, very dark and when I try to buff it down with an eraser, it tends to smudge on the lighter things. The Seral brand is supposed to not smear and hopefully will do a better job. Upon opening the package and trying it with my "12 Days" ornaments last night, I think I will be very happy with it. It is much lighter than the DecoArt paper and still did the job nicely. I am pleased.
Finally, I got this awesome Brush Basin and "stuff" from General products.
I didn't really need a new brush basin, as I use empty plastic containers that sour cream comes in usually, but I wanted the stuff that came in it. I have used "The Master's" brush cleaner before and I love it. The Factis eraser is nice and clean and works well with both pencils and transfer paper. I haven't tried the Artist Soap or the Kiss-Off, but I have heard good things about them and thought I would give them a go. If they are anything like the brush cleaner, I should be happy. This "kit" cost about $25 for everything and seeing the cost of the larger brush cleaner is around $15 in itself, I thought it was a good deal. I did use the brush basin last night and I was delighted to see that it has a nice fitting lid for it. Anyone with cats will appreciate that. When I was done or had to move away from my desk, I just popped the lid on and went. My cats tend to pick in my paint water at any opportunity (I know I am not alone in this) and it is good to have something so convenient. The square shape also means it is more stable and less splashing of the water due to bumping. Those of us whose painting table gets 'full' will understand the value of that.
All in all, I am thrilled. I am thinking about what else I can get from them before the free shipping event is up. Perhaps there will be another order in the near future. . . .
One more (somewhat) unrelated thing came that day as well – my October issue of Painting World magazine!
This is the third issue and their first Ornament Special. There is a great variety of all types of ornaments to paint and I loved it. I think that it is a great publication and they are doing a fine job with it. One day I hope to submit to it when things loosen up a bit for me and I have a bit more time. :)
. . . and now for something completely different . . .
I finished the small curtain on the door to my studio/office.
It may seem like a little thing, but I was so happy to get it done. The door is at the front of our house, and even though most of the traffic is through the side door next to the driveway, I felt like I wanted a bit of privacy when people arrive through the front. While the lace is sheer, it still allows light to come through and I don't feel like I am as much in a fish bowl. (I know – it is weird. But it bugged me.) Sometimes it is the small things that make the biggest difference.
I also finished my small cushion cover for the little bench under the window and got my shelves hung:
My room is one step closer to being fully 'complete' now, with only the back and side cushions for the daybed to be made. I need to wait a couple of weeks though to do that so I can purchase the foam when I head up the valley for a 'Fiber Festival' show with my friend – more on that later, though!
I LOVE how my shelves look:
The wall there was screaming for me to hang something there, but I wanted something that I could change out with the seasons. I could have hung the picture there, but then if I decided to put a seasonal picture there later, things would be off centered and it would be unlikely that I would have something the same size there. I saw this shelving group on Amazon.ca and ordered right up. The four staggered shelves will do a great job displaying all sorts of my projects. You can see I put my "Meow, Meow, Boo!" project there already, as well as one of my own paintings and my Pusheen mermaid. In the next few days I think I am ready to bring up my Halloween decorations, so I am sure that I will change things out soon. I will keep you posted. I wanted a 'fluid' environment where I will be able to enjoy and display many different types of artwork (thus the multi-colored cushions and the white furniture – EVERYTHING will fit in!) and this has been my vision for my workplace here all along. It is not only satisfying, but also very thrilling for me to see it all coming together so nicely. AND it is so organized and functional, too. That 'emotional real estate' that has been planning this has been put to good use, I think.
And my final photo of today – my beautiful girl, Coco:
I think that she is very comfortable here, as are my other furry companions. This room alone is about half the size of our entire old apartment. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have so much breathing room and clean working space to create in. I love it!
I will end here today with a progress picture of my Day 8 Maids a-milking ornaments from the "12 Days" series by Lynne Andrews.
I finished the main design part of the maids, and only need to do the lettering and the backs, which is just a bucket and some greenery. I am in the home stretch on these and hope to get them out by Monday. I am getting closer to being back on track with them and happy.
I hope you don't mind these 'all over the place' posts. The kind of depict the way my life is. I am often told how organized I am and I appreciate that very much, but I also want you to see that sometimes things aren't as organized as they seem. Sometimes we have to just chip away at the vast amount of things we feel we need to do and free up that emotional real estate step-by-step. It feels great when we even make small strides.
I wish you all a wonderful day today. Happy Thursday to you all! The weekend is just around the corner!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"