Sunday, April 20, 2008

What I've been up to...

I'm living my life in reverse, right now.

For most of my life, work was my primary creative outlet. I spent the day generating ideas, solving problems, writing, helping others to express themselves, and generally making art in my own way. On the whole, I wasn't paid all that well for these efforts, but they were rewarding in other ways. I went home to take care of the chores of life, work on a project here and there, and recharge for the next round of work.

These days, work is an exercise in tolerance. A good day is boring. A bad day is hectic without being interesting. My skills and abilities aren't recognized; and if they were, I still wouldn't be allowed to use them. But the pay is good, so I've become one of those people I held in contempt in my younger days: The ones who are just hanging around, drawing their pay, and waiting for retirement.

But I rush home from work to get started on my real life: generating ideas, solving problems, writing, helping others to express themselves, and making art. I can hardly wait to get home and get my hands on the latest project. Most of the time, I have several projects going at the same time, in different stages. Right now, I have "stacked priorities"--a project started, another coming up that is more urgent, then another that takes priority over the second. You know the drill.

Here's the stack I'm working my way through right now.

First, Cyndi Minister, our AREtsy team leader, has scheduled a booth for Toad Suck Days, a big local festival in her home town of Conway, Arkansas. She takes this team leader thing seriously, and she's always coming up with great ideas for promoting all AREtsies. So she invited the whole team to send promotional items to her. She'll put them together into "goodie bags," which she'll then hand out with purchases at her Toad Suck booth.

I had seen what some of the other AREtsies, including Cyndi, were contributing, and I struggled to come up with an idea for something cute, inexpensive, and handmade that I could produce in sufficient volume. At the last minute, I finally got some inspiration. I pulled out a box of mini envelopes I'd scarfed from eBay some time ago. (Maybe years ago.) The envelopes are the same size as a business card. I revised my Etsy business card (deleted personal contact info) for the back cover. I used castoff business cards (Scarlett's) as the base for the front cover and disguised them by applying specialty papers from my drawer of scraps that are too small to use but too big to throw away. To each cover, I applied a sticker that says "tidbits" with a snap or eyelet. And I bound together the covers and five envelopes each with my coil binder. Viola! A purse-size book for holding postage stamps and...uh...other small stuff. With my Etsy shop info conveniently on the back. Here's how they turned out.

I ran out of time and materials at number 77. Was that going to be enough? Then it dawned on me: I didn't have to do all that. All I needed to do was print the business cards with a freakin coupon on the back. I could have been done with the whole project in 20 minutes. I'm a genius. Today, I'll make some coupons, too, in case Cyndi makes more than 77 goodie bags.

The next project in the stack is Mother's Day cards. I've put together a few, but it's not a large enough selection for my shops--they like to be able to pick their favorites. If I don't get these into the stores next week, I'll totally miss the window. So this afternoon, I will crank Mother's Day cards as fast as I can and get them all packaged up.

Then I can return to completing the mini shadowboxes I was working on for my next regular visit to the shops. And then I can get back to the fabric-collage experiment. (Actually, I'll probably do both at the same time; they have alternating stages.) Anyway, here's the mini-art-quilt thing so far. I've decided to do the collages in sets of three--they'll make a better wall display that way, and I can charge more for them! Each quilt square is about 8 or 9 inches. They'll wrap around the canvases gallery-style and wind up 5"x5" on the surface. The one with the flower is what I created at Drunken Bunkin'. I'll add batting and then bead the dots in the center of the flower and randomly elsewhere and quilt the seams.

And then it will be time to get back to work on the collage of collages for Polly's office.

See? This is why I can hardly wait to get home from work.


ElegantSnobbery said...

Yay, you found my blog! And I found yours! Thanks for those WONDERFULLY kind words!

And I love those little spiral notebooks, especially the business card one! Too cute! And boy are you busy! Makes my head spin, just reading about all the things you are up to! And makes me want to be even more productive, myself!

Janna said...

Wow! Your stuff is so inspiring! I am loving your little book of envelopes. What a great idea to hold little stuff together in your purse! And they are so cute too! And what a great use for the little pieces of coils left over after doing something big. Love your work!

casserole said...

You've been a busy girl, haven't you???? I've hit some creative doldrums this past week, but your productivity is just the inspiration I need to pull myself back up and at 'em...

Your day job is just what you do to rest your mind so you can be at your fullest creative potential in the evening, when you accomplish your life's work.

Lisa_in_AR said...

So Denise, what do you do with all your "spare" time??? HA!

LOVE the fabric collages! You truly are a goddess.

Julie Anne of Diamondmeenuh Creations said...

Pure GENIUS! I LOVE those little spiral envelope notebooks!

And you schedule sounds like mine. I plot and plan while I sew while chasing and peeling tiels off of things or things off of the tiels. I also agree with Anne, your day job is just so you can plot and plan your next creative endeavor.

Cheryl said...

I love those little notebooks, and wow, the mini art quilts are stunning!

I may soon be moving to the Little Rock area, so I'm thrilled to hear about the glass shop and quilt shop in Sherwood.

Denise Felton said...

Oh, goodie, cheryl!!! You must come and play with us!!!

idyll hands said...

I want a tidbit book!!! No fair. I can't make it to Toad Suck because I'll be at a fair up here.