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.