new items in my shop

With a new month upon us, I wanted to share a few new items that have been added in my shop recently.

I'm so happy and truly blessed to be able to create on a regular basis and love sharing my joy with you! Hope you enjoy them.


asymmetrical necklace

After yesterday's post about the 4 renditions of this asymmetrical necklace (which you can see here) a friend suggested I remove the pendant all together.  I did think of that while designing but, was stuck on the idea of using a pendant.  After her suggestion I decided to see if I liked it without one and you know what, I did.

The final design without the pendant is a modern version of yesterday's design.  I also think that removing the pendant that the focal becomes the colors and composition which in fact was just want I wanted to begin with.  This is exactly why I LOVE feedback, thanks Heather!


work in progress:
asymmetrical necklace

I love asymmetrical designs and like to explore them from time to time however, when it comes to beading I tend to create with symmetry.  My confidence level isn't as high with beading as it is in other mediums so, I think that is why I have stayed in the comfort of symmetry.  Symmetry makes sense and is much easier.  Asymmetry is hard. Although it looks effortless, it actually takes a lot more time and thought.

This weekend I started a beaded necklace design with asymmetry in mind. Here is my work in progress:

This was my starting point.  I wanted to even out where the brown beads ended on each side and then finish the design with turquoise.  The 3 brown beads on the right side were bugging me and once I snapped this photo I knew why.  It wasn't asymmetrical enough.  It was almost there, I needed to push a little further.

This second design felt much better for the asymmetrical look I was going for. I really liked it but, again after taking the photo I knew the star pendant wasn't right. The beads and the design were too strong for that pendant, it was getting lost.  I needed something bolder.

Now this pendant, I was sure, would be it!  It's a gorgeous ceramic pendant and the colors blend really well with the turquoise beads however, once again when I snapped the picture it didn't feel right.  It was unbalanced.  The turquoise color took a larger stage in the overall design because of this pendant and made that side of the necklace seem heavier then the other side.

Finally, I tried this brass tree pendant.   The natural brass pendant doesn't compete with the brown or turquoise beads, the circle shape flows nicely with the natural brass rings giving the brass more weight and made the entire design feel balanced even though it is not symmetrical. Whew!  That was challenging. But feels oh so good to stretch out of my comfort zone. I have always admired asymmetrical design because of their complexity and now I created one of my very own!

Because I wanted to share the process with you on my blog I took all these pictures and they really helped me "see" the design better.  Sometimes just taking a step back and looking at a project differently, like through the lens of a camera, helps you make decisions about the design that you may have overlooked otherwise.

What do you think?  Do you like my final design or do you think one of my earlier versions is better then the last one?  Have you tried something outside of your comfort zone recently?  If so, I'd love to hear about it!


art masterpiece: monet

 Chrysanthemums by Claude Monet

The discussion on Claude Monet was great. How could it not be, right?  Monet's work is wonderful; impressionism artwork many of which were made outside with lots of color and light. I brought lots of small examples of his work to show the class in addition to this painting.  I found it especially interesting that he panted the same scenes over and over again with different results due to the time of day and season. I didn't realize he did this.  Showing examples of the Poplar Series artwork (shown left) helped the kids visualize how the same picture can be painted and look so different. 

About the Artist
Claude Monet was born in France in 1840. He knew from a young age that he wanted to be an artist rather than go into the family grocery business, and so he went to school to learn art. Monet felt that nature knows no black or white this resulted in this artist creating colorful pieces of work. This is his painting that we will be looking at today.

The name of this painting is Chrysanthemums.  What do you think a Chrysanthemum is?

What does it look like close-up?  Show Monet's painting and emphasize it looks fuzzy up close but realistic from a distance.

This painting style is called Impressionism.  Monet created the style as he experimented with light and color and learned to portray subjects with quick brush strokes. When you stepped back from the canvas, your eyes would blend the colors together.

What is impressionism all about?  Light, color and capturing a moment in time.

Monet liked to paint “en plien air”.  Anyone want to take a guess as to what that means? He enjoyed painting outdoors observing how the light would change as the day progressed. Monet painted outdoor scenes as he saw them.

Monet planted a grand garden with a pond and Japanese bridge. He loved to paint the garden and the lily ponds. Monet was fascinated by light; the way it reflected off objects and water. He featured his garden in more than 200 of his paintings.

Monet painted his garden scenes over and over again, and each would be different, how could that be?  He painted at a different time of day when the sun was at a different position in the sky.  In the morning when the sun is rising there is dew on the plants that make them glisten, then again in the afternoon when the sun was the brightest and again in the evening when shadows are made and the sun sets a warm glow.

Why would that change the picture?  Light affects color and shadows.  Also different season created different colors. (show poplars) Do you know what warm colors are? (yellow, orange and red).  What about cool colors? (blue, green and violet).

Monet used texture in many of his painting. Texture is the quality of the surface, smooth or rough. Texture you can touch or feel. Monet created texture with thick paint, brush strokes and dabs of color. Do you think the texture of this painting rough or smooth?


art masterpiece: russell

Sun River War Party by Charles Russell

Sun River War Party by Charles Russell

About the Artist
Charles Marion Russell was born March 19, 1864 in Missouri. When he was a boy he was fascinated with Cowboys and Indians. He read whatever he could about them and was determined to become a real cowboy. Growing up he had a horse named Jip and got in trouble from his mother for drawing pictures of cowboys and horses on his walls. He is a self-taught artist.  Maybe that is why he painted things just as he saw them, REALISTIC. Charles Russell is famous for his detail, his storytelling and showing things in action.

What is happening in this painting? Indians are going to war

Who is in charge? We discussed what the Indian's are wearing to determine who was the chief and in charge.

What story is he trying to tell? This picture is a painting of Indians from a true cowboy’s perspective. This is how he saw them. Charles Russell told stories of actual events and people. Many stories of the West that he used in his work were legends he heard himself as a cowboy. Often his paintings leave you thinking “What will happen next?”

Here are some open ended questions I asked to spark discussions:
  • Can you imagine being inside this picture? 
  • Where is the light coming from? Do you see shadows?
  • What time of day is it?  How can you tell?
  • How does this painting make you feel? Sad, quiet, scared, why?
  • What kind of colors did he use? Warm or cool, do you know the difference?
Charles Russell is one the most famous western artists.  He was a real cowboy and is known as the "Cowboy Artist". He completed 4,000 works of art during his life.  I hope you liked Charles Russell’s work; realistic artwork made by a real cowboy.

Thank you for reading along with me today.


lentil stew

I haven't posted a Meatless Mondays recipe in awhile because I haven't made anything new, until now.  I made my first stew ever, Lentil Stew!  I love lentils but have only ordered them when out, I never cooked them myself. I am reading Alicia Silverston's cookbook The Kind Diet and adapted this recipe from her book. This stew is hearty, healthy and so yummy! I have to admit neither my husband or I missed the meat. You'll see below I was out of a few ingredients. I didn't let that stop me from trying it though, it still turned out delicious.

Lentil Stew
Serves 6
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika (I was out of paprika so I omitted this)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large onions, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, diced (I was out of celery so I omitted this too)
1 carrot, sliced
1 potato, cut into chunks (I substituted 3 red potatoes)
1/4 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
5 cups vegetable broth
3 tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks (I was out of tomatoes so I omitted these)
1 1/2 cups brown lentils

Combine the garlic powder, paprika, salt, cumin, oregano and basil in a small bowl. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat, and add the garlic, onion, celery, carrot and potato. Stir in half the seasoning mix and the shoyu (soy sauce). Cook stirring frequently for 7 minutes.

Add 5 cups of water, the broth, tomatoes and lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer with the lid askew for 30 minutes. Add the remaining seasoning mix and cook for 20 minutes longer or until the lentils are soft.


march biz goals

My, my, my ... it's March. After a little goal setting breather, I'm ready to get back on track, reconnect myself to this wonderful goal sharing community and if nothing else sum up where I've been and where I'm going with Creative Stash.

This year begun quietly in my studio and here on my blog I felt mute. But my mind was not dormant, I was busy observing, gathering and cultivating where I head next. I wasn't busy externally as it was a time for an internal shift and although I don't have all the answers, I'm ready to start moving forward.

March Goals
  • credible nutrition postcard design
  • east valley artisans postcard and banner design
  • move creative stash website to my blog
  • begin new wedding invitation design
  • custom painting
  • custom coasters
  • get involved with this month's creative every day theme
  • family art play time
  • try meal planning
  • gym: monday, wednesday, thursday and saturday
Looking back on last year, I have learned a few things about myself and the work I want to do.  I have been a full time graphic designer for 11 years and have freelanced for almost as long.  I am finally beginning to realize that some jobs just aren't for me and that's okay.

One thing I learned is that teaching kids at local elementary schools wasn't for me.  Although rewarding, the responsibility of being in the school system and teaching kids who had no desire to learn drawing combined with my anxiety about being prepared and ready for class took more energy from me and my family then I had to give.  I am also stepping away from working on websites for a little while.  They are long and often tedious projects, it is what I do all day as a web designer and taking them on for freelance when my schedule is already jam packed has not been fair for me or my clients. So for now, I am opting out of designing websites.

Now that I got the things that haven't been working out of the way you may be thinking what am I excited about?  Oh lots!  I'm excited about designing my friends wedding invitation suite this month and the possibility of more invite designing in the future.  I am excited about continuing to offer small business design services and marketing myself for those services better this year.  I am excited about expanding my etsy shop with new offerings in jewelry, paper goods, recycled/upcycled gifts, and finally offering art prints of my original paintings and of course more painting.

I may not know which direction to go today, but everyday I will learn and grow within myself allowing my business to naturally grow along with me.  

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.

CHA booth eye candy

I wrote about my first trip to CHA and the trade show booths that wowed over at Soft Flex Company's blog today. Click here to read my guest blog post.