a creative odyssey

This post is my contribution to the Creative Odyssey Blog Hop. During December, over 40 bloggers will be sharing their creative dreams and goals for 2011 and today, along with The Personal Blog of Tracey Sawatzky and PeachHoneyLove, I am sharing mine.

For those new here, welcome! I'm Kristen, wife to a very supportive husband and mother of two energetic little boys ages 4 and 6. I work from home full-time as a graphic designer, teach drawing to elementary kids twice a week and spend the rest of my time at Creative Stash where I freelance small business graphics, design wedding invitations and create as a mixed media artist.  Life is bursting at the seams but, I love it, I really do.

This quote resonates with me as 2010 comes to a close.  It has been a wonderful year of creating, exploring, blogging and growing! Almost too good really, this quote helps me think that 2011 will, in fact, be better!

My Goals for 2011 ...

Keep an Open Mind
I love to learn and grow and change.  This year however, I struggled with whether I wanted to do one thing really well or whether I wanted to keep the creative path open. I know deep down that I want that path open. So this year, I want to work on be comfortable with the fact that I may never be "one great thing" and to stop beating myself up over it. Just do what feels right and you'll be fine, better then fine even.

Make More Art
Like many of us, I want to make the time to create more art for myself and with my children. An art journal to channel ideas and create without expectations will no doubt help me cultivate my style and my story. I also want to use my current mix of supplies and recycled items to create beautiful things. I want to expand upon my current product lines, market my graphic design services and create with canvas in new ways.

Stay Involved
Through joining an Etsy team, social media sites, the Creative Every Day challenge and The Meetup goal sharing group,  I have made wonderful friendships with many talented and passionate people.  I want to continue to connect and support this amazing creative community!

Overall Well Being
Well, an important issue for me to address is that I tend to work for the sake of working. My work is my passion and  I am most happiest when I'm making things, but there are times when I get swept up in working and I cannot concentrate on anything else and that has to change. I need to keep my life in balance. I must be present with my family, have more fun, enjoy the moment and ease up on worrying about my to do list. Taking care of my overall well being through creative fun, yoga, dance, eating and sleeping well will all help me achieve a calmer, happier existence. 

Cheers to a very Happy and Creative New Year!


christmas greetings

Wishing you the Merriest of Christmas's and the Happiest of New Years!

A big THANK YOU to my wonderful readers and friends for helping to make 2010 an extraordinary year! Your visits, comments and support are greatly appreciated and mean a lot to me. It has been amazing to meet so many new friends. I just love this bloggy blog world and feel blessed to be a part of it!  May your holiday season be magical! xoxo


kids art holiday card

I tried something new with our cards this year.  I asked my kids, ages 4 and 6,  to each draw a snowman and then I used their art to create our family holiday card. It turned out really cute!  I love that we were able to share their artwork with our friends and families, many of whom we don't get to see often.

My only itty bitty change for next year is to make the card bigger.  I created it this size because I had a bunch of A2 envelopes on hand and this size fit.  However, once hung up with our other holiday cards though it looks pretty itty bitty. It's still cute though!


peace - joy - love holiday card

Paper art projects are not my strong suit so, I tend to shy away from them but, around the holidays a handmade card is just begging to be made!

This year, I reserved my only hand made holiday card for our bosses at Soft Flex Company. Our boss Mike suffered a spinal cord injury earlier this year.  Needless to say, it has been a difficult time for him, his family and his loved ones.  My husband and I decided to make a donation in his honor to Christopher Reeve's Foundation for Christmas.  Naturally, I wanted to send them a card with holiday wishes and felt only hand made would do.  

While looking over my paper stash, I remembered that I designed some free printable holiday paper for Soft Flex's website.  The Peace, Joy, Love paper design matched an old Christmas card, ribbon and foam snowflakes I had in my stash so, I downloaded it and printed on card stock.

First, I tried cutting a small piece of the Peace, Joy, Love paper, leaving a border the outside and using only text.  But it wasn't working for me, I didn't feel it had enough warmth.


So, I cut a new bigger piece of the Peace, Joy, Love paper and glued it to the entire background of the card, glued the snowflake foam pieces to the back of the tree I cut out from the old card to give it some dimension, topped the tree with a shiny star (that I took from another old card) and I'm done ... or was I?

The empty space in the top middle was bugging me so, I glued on a red & white checkered bow.  It feels like I may have crossed the crafty line a bit, since it's pretty busy but, it's fun to go a little over the top during  the holidays, right? I hope they enjoy it and know that I created their card with extra special care.


my 2010 ornaments

I love ornaments, I can't say it enough.  One look at our tree and it's pretty obvious - I have that sucker jammed packed!  Each year I create a new handmade ornament.  I give a couple as gifts and keep one or two for our tree.  It's become my creative tradition.

Trying to decide what to make each year is challenging and that's what makes it fun. This year I played around with modpodge.  This was my first experience with it and I see why so many people like to use it.  So, which decoupage star is your favorite?

Check out my 2009 vintage figurine ornaments and my handmade ornament roundup through the years.


recycled paper bow

Photo from The Spotted Sparrow

The Spotted Sparrow has a great tutorial on how to make a recycled paper bow. The construction is so simple, I love it!

I had some odd shaped gifts that needed a little pizazz so, I whipped up 2 bows using an old Christmas card based on their tutorial. You can make a cute bow from old paper - magazines, books, wrapping paper, newspaper, maps, music sheets, anything!.


beading inspired gift wrap

Photo from  Soft Flex Company - Econoflex Wire Decorated Box
Hi! I'm guest blogging on Soft Flex Company's blog. Today, I am sharing some of my favorite beading inspired holiday gift wrapping ideas, won't you join me? Click to see today's post.


handmade goodness: sugar, spice and everything nice

I planned on posting a handmade goodness feature about Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice today but, the day got away with me ... then I saw on the Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice Facebook Page that it is National Cupcake Day!  So I had to post this today ... it was meant to be.

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice makes specialty cupcakes for all occasions. Peggy, the brainchild behind the adorably delicious cupcake company, has been a friend of mine for 15 years! She is an amazing person who has an amazing talent, she transforms a simple cupcake into something truly spectacular. Here are some of my favorite creations.

Yarn Cupcakes
Cheeseburgers Cupcakes over Charcoal Cupcakes
Teacher Appreciation Cupcakes
Popcorn Cupcakes
 Peggy says ...
I want to bring sugar, spice and everything nice to friends, family and others - a happy place is where a cupcake's in your face!
I totally agree.  I surely am most happy when there is a cupcake in my face! You must live in New York on Long Island to enjoy her tasty treats. For order inquiries, e-mail Peggy and be sure to find her on facebook!


a crafty holiday

I'm participating in A Crafty Holiday, a blog hop organized by Angela Flicker of The Artists' House to give passionate bloggers the chance to share why they buy handmade for the holidays. Friday, Nimo  listed all sorts of goodies that would make wonderful gifts and now it’s my turn!

I'm a big fan of handmade. Over the years I have given and made gifts for my parents, grandparents, siblings, co-workers, friends, and so on. Funny thing is, I rarely give handmade gifts to my husband, my kids or myself!  No idea why, since I truly love giving and receiving handmade gifts.  This year I am changing that.  I am buying each of us handmade gifts and I am thrilled about it!

I'm also a big fan of lists, so here is a list of reasons why I value handmade:
  • the care, thought and craftsmanship that goes into each item
  • the quality of a product that can only come from handmade
  • the variety of handcrafted items is amazing and inspiring to explore.
  • to support fellow artisans; their work and their livelihood
  • handmade has heart. plain and simple.
I have a terrible memory but, I could tell you who and for what occasion every handmade item I own came from ... to me that speaks volumes about the value I place on those items.  I love boutiques and crafts shows and encourage you check local events in your area. However, juggling 3 jobs and a family, I find it tough to get out and explore (I'm totally missing out, I know). That is why I am so grateful for Etsy and the many sites like them who give indie artisans an invaluable place to share their goodies with the world online.
    So without further ado, here's a peek at my gift and wish list.

    1. Days Between Batik Tee - Tree Town Batiks
    2. Fragrance Free Goat's Milk Whipped Body Cream - Artisan Soap Spa
    3. Trey Anastasio Spray Painting Print - FrogMeow
    4. Money Clip Wallet - Broundoor
    1. Peridot Flower Gemstone Ring -  Kierra Ferrer Jewelry Design
    2. Crocheted Felted Slippers - A Life Crocheted
    3. Garden Sage Striped Skirt - Rosie's Whimsy
    4. Cream Rosette Headband - Folding Chair Designs
    5. Fragrance Free Vegan Body Lotion - Little Owl Soap Co
    1. Portable Placement, Napkin and Bamboo Utensils - Seedling Designs
    2. Take a Hike Print - The Wheatfeild
    3. Bamboo Cutting Board - Studio 44 Eighty
    4. Cloth Napkins Summer Breeze - Fern Hollow Finds

    Don't forget your holiday cards!  Share how happy your handmade holidays are with a custom photo card by Melanie of Paper Mango. Short on time?  No problem! She'll print the cards for you, with envelopes (even envelope printing if you’re really in a rush!). And if you like to DIY, you'll love that her designs are available as an affordable DIY, printable file. For all the details please see Paper Mango's 2010 Holiday Card Collection.
          Tomorrow, Paige Hill will be sharing their list.  You can see the entire schedule for A Crafty Holiday here. Wishing you a very handmade holiday!

          Much Love,


          monthly goal meetup

          November was busy, productive and tasty.  I have been blessed with a slew of custom magnet orders and I am so grateful for it. I am also grateful for 4 days off for Thanksgiving weekend to spend time with my family.  If it wasn't for that time I think I may have burnt out by now.  That truly gave me a burst of new energy!

          November Goals
          • web site client - finish up design galleries and press/news page - umm they want to start over with a different design approach that was presented in the first drafts!  Start fresh in the new year.
          • teach cartooning to 2 elementary classes each week - this is working out much better than the 3 classes last session, I just need to ease my anxiety the day before and of classes.
          • east vallery artisans logo design - done
          • promote custom magnets for the holidays - done
          • fill custom magnet orders - 10 orders completed in Nov!
          • continue to test out renewing etsy items daily - still doing it, not seeing much difference in sales but I am seeing an increase in shop visits. I think I'll give it a go for a bit longer.
          • post new items on etsy - bookmarks and note cards -  note cards posted!
          • test out new items - bottle cap bookmarks and bobby pins- done
          • craft sales 11/12 and 11/26
          • create custom coasters for Suzan - need to do
          • create custom painting for Jenny - on hold until new year
          • create custom painting for Inessa - on hold until new year
          • cook Thanksgiving dinner - delicious, i love this holiday and all the cooking that I get to do for it.
          • family fall crafts - we made a fun turkey craft on Thanksgiving
          • set aside gym time - good with the exception of holiday week
          I can't believe the new year is only a month away!  I am already thinking about some new trails to blaze. But for now, here's what's on the agenda for December.

          December Goals
          • wedding thank you cards order
          • teach cartoon class 2x a week
          • wrap up custom holiday orders, cut off is Dec 10th
          • post bookmarks on etsy
          • continue renewing items daily
          • craft sale Dec 10th
          • custom coasters for Suzan
          • make holiday cards with kids, bake cookies, enjoy my dad's visit, take the polar express, have breakfast with Santa, make gingerbread houses and spread holiday cheer!
          Wishing everyone a joyous holiday with sprinkles of creativity, love and the magic of the season. xoxo
            If you would like to join in the Meetup biz goals fun, head on over to Athena Dreams to read more about what we do and how to join in.

            this moment: my boy and his pillow pet

            {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, join in over at SouleMama.


            art print note cards

            New handmade note card sets featuring my original art prints. Set of 4 or Set of 6 blank note cards. Mix and match, order multiples of the same card or different cards, your choice. Printed on ivory embossed card stock.  Card size is A2 (4.25x5.5). Each card and envelope are individually packaged in a cello bag, bundled with twine and attached with a gift tag. A perfect note card gift set! See my shop for art print styles.


            black friday special events!

            East Valley Artisans, my arts group, is having our first home party today! EVA offers quality handmade products including jewelry, hair accessories, ornaments, magnets, unique chainmail gifts and more. Get your holiday shopping done in a cozy, festive environment. I'm one of the featured artists and will demonstrate how to use ice resin and how to decorate an ornament with paper and modpodge.

            *Shop for holiday gifts*
            *Meet the artists*
            *See live demonstrations*
            *Sign up for future crafting workshops*
            *Win a door PRIZE!!!!* 

            Stop by our open house today between 11am and 3pm. Bring a friend - the more the merrier! Hors d'oevers and beverages will be served.  For complete details, please click here.


            Get 20% off your entire purchase by using coupon code BLACKFRIDAY when shopping Creative Stash on Etsy. Also, my shop is BOGO for the holidays, buy one get one 50% off. Sale prices will be honored at the EVA Black Friday Event today. Please note either coupon or BOGO sale price will applied but, not both. Contact me via etsy or email me krisfagan (at) cox.net to set up a reserved listing for BOGO items. Thanks and Happy Holidays!



            I count my blessings for my two happy little boys, my caring husband, and for all the amazing family and friends who enrich our lives every day. I am also very grateful for our home, good health, laughter, art supplies, the library, yoga and time to create and re-connect with myself regularly. Last but, certainly not least, I am thankful for all the wonderful people who have inspired and supported me and Creative Stash this year.  My family and I are so very grateful to you. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!


            packaging ideas

             Hi! I guest blogged on Soft Flex Company's blog  this week about packaging ideas.  I LOVE packaging.  I have spent a few hours but, could have easily spent a few days looking at packaging ideas to share with you. An item packaged nicely will impress your buyers and their gift recipients, that's a win-win!  There are some lovely packaging ideas and tips I found on my hunt. Click to see this post.

            handmade goodness: distressed doll

            Life Together Altered Album
            I am so happy to have met Amy of Distressed Doll this past month.  I bought a calendar and journal from her at Hissyfits Hullabaloo and after checking out her facebook page and all that she creates, I simply fell in love with her art.  Amy creates altered albums, jewelry, paper arts, votive holders, teaches classes and welcomes custom orders too! Distressed Doll's items are as beautifully crafted as they are beautiful.

            Address Books

            Photo Clips
            After Hissyfits, I saw Amy again at Mesa 2nd Fridays and purchased a handful of her adorable photo clips to hold gift cards. They are a wonderful way to add a touch of handmade goodness to an otherwise plain gift.  So much more exciting then sticking a card in an envelope, right?  Find Distressed Doll on Facebook!


            recycled bottle cap magnets - made to order

            My handmade bottle cap magnet sets are a wonderful gift idea and they can now be customized! These little treasures are made from recycled bottle caps featuring custom image(s) supplied by you. Custom images can be family photos, child's artwork, nature photos, anything you want! I will accepting custom magnet set orders until Dec 10th.

            - magnets are 1 inch round
            - custom images are set into a bottle cap with clear resin
            - super duper 1/2 inch magnets hold several sheets of paper
            - set of 6 magnets will be shipped to you in a gift tin.

            ♥ Testimonials:
            Love these magnets!! The best 20 bucks i ever spent!! I cant wait to get another set. ~ Vicky
            Super fast delivery and beautiful packaging. The magnets are gorgeous, although that word doesn't seem to do them justice! Thank you so much! ~ Peggy
            I got the magnets. they are fantastic!!!!!! every time i need a gift this is what i am giving. i love them so much. I need some for myself. thanks so much! ~ Wendy

            HOLIDAY BOGO SALE! Buy one set and get your second set half off!  Your second set can be the same or a different set of custom images. You will need to contact me via etsy or email krisfagan (at) cox.net to set up a reserved listing with special pricing for BOGO sale.


            handmade goodness: black mountain jewelry

            Black Mountain Jewelry is a husband and wife team of jewelry artists that create beautiful, one-of-a-kind, heirloom quality jewelry.  Carla and Mark are fine art, custom jewelry designers who strive to crate living art that embodies your unique experiences. Above is their best selling personalized Tree of Life product line.  I personally own the ring and gifted the pendant to my mother, both are so very special to me.

             These are some just of the beautiful handmade jewelry available from Black Mountain Jewelry:


            I have known Carla and Mark for many years.  Carla and I were co-workers at a mom and pop bead supply shop here in Arizona.  When we went our own ways in business we remained friends and continued to work with one another through the years.  I handled their businesses graphic design, they crafted our wedding rings, my engagement ring and my bridal jewelry, I created their website, they created a stunning crystal "mother's" necklace for me. It has been a great working relationship but, above it all we are good friends.

            Carla and Mark are exceptionally talented in their craft and very deserving of your trust in their abilities to create a stunning piece of jewelry for you or your loved one. Right now, they are offering Free Shipping on orders placed through 11/30/10. Just enter coupon code FS11 on your web order at www.blackmountainjewelry.com.


            handmade goodness: desert baby

            Desert Baby specializes in handmade goodies for Moms and the Lil' Ones that rule their lives. All items are created and hand-sewn by my good friend and fellow hip mama, Amanda. Amanda has a wonderful eye for beautiful fabrics and does an impeccable job making her products.  You can tell lots of love and care are put into everything she makes. Check out Desert Baby on Facebook!

             These are some just of the adorable ready to ship goodies from Desert Baby

            Infant Car Seat Canopy Covers
            Organic Cotton Tie Onesie
            Minky Burp Cloths
            You can totally tell I'm a mom of boys, right?!  Desert Baby, of course has items in girlie girl fabric and styles too! Amanda loves custom orders and truly aims to please. I have placed numerous custom orders with her and she is kind, fair and super easy to work with.

            Child Painter's Apron
             This is one custom item I ordered, a painter's apron for my son's 3rd birthday. My son loves rainbow colors so, this fabric was just perfect! He adores it and since it rolls up, we can easily store all his brushes in it when they are not in use.


            handmade goodness

            I have been surrounded by so much handmade goodness over the past few weeks I am just spinning from the awesomeness of it all.

            I went to Hissyfits Hullabaloo (local craft fair with lots of goodies) last weekend to support a friend selling there and to check it out.  It was a wonderful event, I saw a ton of things I would loved to purchase if I could have. I set up my booth at Mesa 2nd Friday this week to sell my handmade items, buy some others and chat with my show neighbors. Sprinkle in my wonderfully talented creative friends online and offline and I realized I had a ton of artists and craftspeople to share with you!

            So over the next couple of weeks I will do just that.  Stay tuned ... 


            this moment: leaf head

            {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, join in over at SouleMama.


            TGIF on main street tomorrow

            Tomorrow, I'll have a booth selling my handmade jewelry, bottle cap magnets and new art bookmarks and cards at Downtown Mesa's 2nd Friday - Thank goodness it's Fall event from 6pm - 10 pm. This month is a fall theme and features a bonus International Flair Festival, with multicultural performers, a henna artist, beer garden and food sampling, in the block between Robson and Country Club along Main Street in downtown Mesa.

            Event Highlights: Free event with live bands, hay rides, holistic exhibits, country fair games for kids, pony rides, food, entertainment, art galleries, 60+ art booths, farmers market, charity events, and more!

            I'll be setup alongside my friend, Kandes of Tricky Fox Designs, located on the South side of Main Street, between MacDonald & Center from 6pm - 10 pm. It should be a beautiful night for a stroll on Main Street, hope to see you there!


            new batch of canvas earrings

            I have a few new canvas painted earrings designs now available in my Etsy shop.  These fun, funky and super lightweight painted canvas earrings are hand-cut from my abstract acrylic paintings.

            My etsy shop is going BOGO for the holidays, buy one get one 50% off! Plus, FREE SHIPPING in the US!


            monthly goal meetup

            October, so sad to see you go.  It was an amazing month.  Our family staycation rocked. I realized just how much I missed the people I see and live with every day.  I get myself so wrapped up in this project and that project that taking a whole week to catch up and enjoy each day with my favorite people in the whole world was fantastic.

            October Goals
            • web site client - in progress and moving along well
            • logo design client - completed
            • promote custom magnets for the holidays - underway
            • promote monthly sale & test out renewing Etsy items daily - underway, getting more traffic but no extra sales yet, I'll give it another month of daily renewing to assess.
            • family staycation - woo hoo! - so much awesomeness!
            • make Halloween decorations - kids want more spooky stuff! boo,didn't get to create.  oh well we'll try for fall/thanksgiving crafts
            • reacquaint myself with the gym - YES!  it is great to be back even if it's just 2-3 days a weeks
            • cook up some real food not all the processed stuff we've been eating lately (I blame it on coupons!) - made a few new dishes, my son E's new favorite dish is ground turkey tacos. 
            I accomplished everything I set out to do last month and that feels great.  November is shaping up to be a busy month.  I'm going to take it in stride one step at a time and really try to not alienate myself from the rest of the world. Because really what is the point of that, right?

            November Goals
            • web site client - finish up design galleries and press/news page
            • teach cartooning to 2 elementary classes each week
            • east vallery artisans logo design
            • promote custom magnets for the holidays
            • fill custom magnet orders
            • continue to test out renewing etsy items daily
            • post new items on etsy - bookmarks and notecards
            • test out new items - bottle cap bookmarks and bobby pins
            • craft sales 11/12 and 11/26
            • create custom coasters for Suzan
            • create custom painting for Jenny
            • create custom painting for Inessa
            • cook Thanksgiving dinner
            • family fall crafts
            • set aside gym time
            • set aside cooking time

            If you would like to join in the Meetup biz goals fun, head on over to Athena Dreams to read more about what we do and how to join in. Wishing everyone a calm and balanced November in the midst of holiday craziness!


            this moment: the symphony

            {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, join in over at SouleMama.