I have had a life time love affair with “Old things” – Antiques, Vintage Items and Historical Architecture. I grew up surrounded by these items, attending auctions with my paren…
I have had a life time love affair with “Old things” – Antiques, Vintage Items and Historical Architecture. I grew up surrounded by these items, attending auctions with my paren…
Valentines Day is the day we are supposed to celebrate Love. There is a lot of hype and pressure from the card, flower and candy companies, not to mention the media. Even so Mothers day holds the record for the most flower sales, and Halloween for the most candy sales. Personally I prefer my Husbands thoughtfulness of bringing me flowers and gifts when ever he feels the urge, as I am assured it is from his heart and not because society reminded him to.
As I’m watching the news and advertisements about Valentines day, I begin to think we should take a new approach to this special day and make it more about how we can show our love for our fellow man. We are encouraged to “Keep the spirit of Christmas” in our hearts through-out the year. Well then Valentines day would be a good time to show our love for all mankind, regardless of gender, race or religion.Listening to the news lately I have been inspired to change our family traditional celebration of Valentines day. In one story some elementary students decided to sell their handmade cards and flowers to raise money for a local charity. They had a special event at the school the Saturday before Vaentines Day to sell their items and with the communities support, they were able to raise a considerable amount for their charity.
Yesterday Justin Bieber went to visit a little girl he heard about, who was such a big fan that she referred to herself as Mrs. Bieber! The darling Mrs Bieber is a six year old cancer patient. He spent some time with her taking pictures and sharing hugs, he tweeted the experience saying: “this is one of the best things I have ever done!” I am sure it is one of the best experiences in “Mrs. Bieber’s” young life as well! Here is a young man blessed with talent and a great career, taking time from his busy schedule to share his loving spirit with another, who, I am sure, really needed that burst of joy his visit brought her. What better way to celebrate Valentines day?!
Another example of this is Julianne Moore, who has arranged a collection of Valentines Day cards created by fellow Childrens books Authors and Illustrators. They come in a box of 20 for $25.00 and can be purchased on Opensky.com. All proceeds are being donated to Save the Children, to help kids living in poverty across the United States. Did you know that the amount of children living in poverty in our country is now up to 25%? Thats right 1 in 4 children in our country – the United States of America, are living in poverty!!
So instead of spending your money on flowers or candy, ( and who needs to add that to our waisteline!), why not reach out and do something to show love for others. It doesn’t have to be costly, volunteer your time at a V.A. hospital, make some bright, cheerful pillowcases for cancer patients, or send a child in Haiti a cheerful blanket, or some shoes.
A little bit of Love shared, goes a long way!
Be Creative and share some Love today with someone in need, then make a family plan for next year and have fun with it!!
When we speak of “creating” and Artists and their art, crafts, or mediums they use to express themselves, we don’t usually envision a laptop, ipad or even and iphone as a canvas to create on. A canvas for creativity is exactly what Steve Jobs has given us.
Last year I purchased a new Macbook Pro to help me with my business and blogging, as I was trying to design a blog format and work on other social media sites, I wanted easier access that I could take wherever I went, especially as I have three children to taxi about! The reason I chose this item was due to the Design colleges my son was considering attending, and they all suggeted the Macbook Pro as he would need it in much of his design work.
I have learned the basics but not even really tapped the potential of my Mac, and I am already incredibly impressed by the endless possibilities it possesses.
In the last two weeks I was able to purchase an iTouch, and then an iPad . I am completely blown away by the creativity in these devices!! There are apps galore that you can install in all of these, incredible Art programs, and applications for various photo software, movie making programs and music programs – not just one but a variety that have many different aspects to each one, so there is no limit to what you can create in a little hand held device the size of a cell phone! I spent hours going through and reading what they offer- I was like a kid in a candy store!
Up until now I couldn’t understand why everyone was so wrapped up in their iphones, and frankly considered it so rude that you can hardly get eye contact from anyone anymore. I still do not have a cell phone, I use my iTouch with the “text free” app and can even make calls that way when in a WiFi area. Today I understand the obsession, not for the games, I am not a gamer, but for the creative opportunities they possess. Even someone who does not consider themselves as creative or an artistic person, can easily become so with the help of a few apps from Apple and other software providers.
I have held out all this time from purchasing these hi-tech devices – especially the iPad, as “not buying into the hype and obsession” – well now I know what I have been missing!!!
I am watching my children’s creativity explode with these devices. My eight year old daughter is drawing and painting pictures that you would not believe came from someone her age, and yes, she is that good on paper as well. However now she can learn and practice her skill anywhere at anytime, and save it to print or make a project out of it, that she otherwise would not have been able to. She already has a library of short movies she has made with our dogs.
So, late last night I finally picked out a few apps to try out, several of which are free! My first pick was one called “brain-stormer” where you can jot down ideas, words, phrases, and be ispired by a picture or word stream, Then there is “Fabric Stash” where you can take pictures of you fabric- record the content and the amount that you have- This is a big one for me, and though it will take a while to go through my glutenous amount of fabric- in the end it will be so worth it!! They also have a “Pattern Stash” app!!! For you knitters, there is one for yarn called (get this) “Ewe Stash”! These are just a few that I am going to start with as I work through them I will let you know how its going and what I like and don’t like about them. This will be coming from someone who really is not tech savy- but slowly learning to adapt to this new world of high tech living.
Please let me know what your favorite apps are and how you use them, even if they are not a “creative” program. We all need easier ways to manage our everyday lives as well.
Check out s new app today and get inspired! I sure am!!
Blooming Sisters will be taking a new direction.
You may have noticed that we are not posting as often and that some of the authors you have come to love are no longer posting here.
When I began this blog it was intended to be a ‘group’ blog, there were 8 of us and we were excited to begin this new venture, something some of us had never tried before. At the same time we were also working on developing a new venue for Artists and their handmade items, called LotusMade. We have already discussed what the delay in that venture has been, (refer to our Archives of “The Lotus Connection”).
Working with-in a group of Women teaches you a lot, in the last year there have been many hard lessons to learn. When you are the one financially responsible, that puts you in the ‘hot seat’ or the “boss” chair, so-to-speak, and being diplomatic is not always possible. Keeping the peace in a group of creative people, who have very different opinions on any given subject, is an incredible challenge.
We lost several members due to a difference of opinions and hurt feelings, that was tough on all of us. Not making promises of financial gain is easy enough, but allowing group members to voluntarily take on an unequal amount of responsibility is a BIG mistake and will lead to hard feelings in the end. It was, by far, the hardest lesson that I had to learn.
I had always heard Oprah say never-never give away any of your financial or business control in your own company. So true and advise I shuld have followed completely. There are times when you may think these rulles don’t apply to your busines, as when you are working closely with others, and building personal relationships that you believe you can trust.
There came a time when I needed to take a step back from BloomingSisters due to an increase in my personal business, an ailing parent and other family obligations. Several members offered to step up and cover the needs of BloomingSisters, after numerous emails stating their willingness to do so, I agreed. BIG MISTAKE!!
Once you give up control, for any length of time, it is extremely hard to get it back with out stepping on someones toes and having hard feelings. Once you give someone else control to make decisions for your company, it seems to be hard for them to consider it ‘your’ company, they forget that they need to consult with you about decisions that will affect your company’s reputation. Ultimately this was my biggest mistake and hurt the group the most, for that I am very sorry.
So now our group of 8 women has separated to go in different directions.
Karen, Louise and Bridgett can be found at Indiemosaic.com, where they have begun an interesting new venue for Artists and buyers and will continue to blog there.
Charlie can be found at her personal blog Clayspace.com.
Mary, Nancy, and Diane, have their own personal and family concerns to take care of.
I wish them all well and much happiness and success in their future endeavors, they are all very creative and talented women
The schedule as well as the categories will change.
I, like other Women who wear more than one hat; wife, mother, daughter, business owner, and blogger, have a busy life to manage, so I will not be able to blog every day. I will do my best to maintain a 4 posts a week schedule.
The categories I will focus on are:
For the Love of it- What we do creatively, for the shear enjoyment of it.
Re-Make it – recycling, reusing and repurposing items we have or find
The Creative Process — what inspires us, and how we create something new
The How and Why of it – learning new techniques or crafts
Where we Create – our creative spaces and studios
Business Tidbits – for those who wish to turn their passion into $$, or increase their
I will be inviting many different Artists, business owners,and the casual hobbyist to blog here and tell us about what they do and how they do it. So keep checking in, because as informative and helpful as this blog has been, it is only going to become even more inspiring. Encouraging you to explore your own creativity!
Though I studied Architecture and Interior Design in college, it does not compare to actually doing it in your own home, and especially for your own children!! Decorating, depending on how involved you get, can combine many creative outlets. Being the type of creative person I am- I insist on doing it all!! I enjoy learning new processes, like when we remodeled our home, I decided to learn how to tile and lay wood floors, but thats another story!
In decorating my children’s rooms, I have employed sewing, painting and furniture refinishing. I love to decorate their rooms in themes that they like, to give them a feel of owning their space in our home. Amazingly this also inspires responsibility for their rooms, which they take more pride in and try harder to keep clean. Yes! it really does work!
We have had many themes through- out the years: Paddington Bear Nursery, a Teddy Bear Picnic Nursery, a Garden Nursery.
Then as they grew up, for the boys, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Harry Potter and now a Beachy/ Nautical theme due to my boys involvement in Rowing for Crew.
Many times we have used the redecorating of a childs room to help them transition into a new phase, like giving up the crib and moving onto the toddler bed
This was Andrew’s transition from the Nursery above- “Teddy Bear Picnic” to a Woody theme with a special “Woody” Toddler bed, since we needed the crib for his baby sister.
In Andrew’s Woody room I tried color washing the walls, that is why they look a different hue in places. It adds a softer touch of color and has an aged look. Then I stenciled the “Woody” motif and rope design. On the bed I used a wood graining tool to add that western feel. He was so excited about his “new” room and bed!
My daughter progressed to a Tinker Bell theme.
I used a wavy vine to accent the top of the wall as a boarder so that the flowers would stand out more, then I sketched out the flowers using a Tinker Bell coloring book as inspiration. These walls were also colorwashed, I just love the soft layers of color that come through with this method
Now being all of 8 years old, she is requesting a more sophisticated “Paris ” Theme, with all the Glam of course!!
I have learned many painting techniques through-out the years; Pickling, Weathering, Glazing, Crackling, Ragging, Sponging, Color washing, Stamping, Stenciling and Woodgraining, using them on walls as well as furniture. Unfortunately, due to a computer virus we lost a lot of our family pictures, so I only have a few left to show.
Our latest transition was from a Harry Potter theme to a Beach theme.
Here we tried a new technique called “weathering” usually done on furniture, but my son wanted his walls to look like an old weathered Beach shack. Along the way through all our redecorating, I have taught my children how to do it as well. The boys started as young as three years old. There is nothing as exciting or scary as handing your three year old a loaded paint roller or brush and telling them to “go to town!”. At eight and thirteen my boys learned how to pull up carpet, nail strips and three layers of old linoleum, they loved the crow bar action!! Meanwhile my daughter was working on coloring my bedroom walls with her crayons! So she was given a paint brush too!
The only downside to inspiring my childrens creativity this way, is that they frequently come up with new ideas for their rooms. they love the process so much that they want to do it frequently!!
I am always on the look out for inspiration and ideas for decorating with new window treatments or accents that we can work on together.
These are two of my favorite books that have inpired me:
Rooms your kids will love, by Paige Gilchrist and Mary Engelbreit’s, Childrens Companion
I hope this has inspired you to collaborate with your child on a room of their dreams. I promise you it is a rewarding teaching and bonding experience. Have fun exploring your creative urges together!!
I have always been a big fan of recycling, now also known as re-using or re-purposing. As far back as I can remember my Grandmother could always find a way to re-use items like : coffee cans, jars, pantyhose, old clothing, even those little left over pieces of soap, she would keep to compress together. She frequently gave me scraps and buttons from my Grandfathers old shirts to make things for my dolls.
So it is no supprise that I have followed suit. I find it challenging to throw things away, I stare at the item and try to think what could be done with it now, especially when I was home-schooling. Which, of course, could easily put me into the catagory of “hoarder”. We are in a time of cross purposes: recycle, re-use, re-purpose, or on the other hand we hear “don’t hoard- purge!” So, in trying to find a happy medium, I recycle in the usual community way and since I am a seamstress/designer, I examine every piece of clothing that is ourgrown or damaged in our house, before it goes to Goodwill or the trash. If I am particularly attatched to the item, like baby clothes that hold a special memory, it is saved, or if it is something I think I can use in a new project, it is put in my Project box- or boxes, in my case!!This pillow, for example, was made with my sons’ outgrown Tshirt and matching patchwork shorts, that he and I both loved, and co-ordinated with the “surfer” theme we were working on in his room.
Recently my daughter, Brianne, outgrew a favorite shirt that she did not want to part with as it is an official “American Girl” shirt and she just recieved an “American Girl” doll for Christmas, that of course, looks just like her. So my solution? I will make her doll an outfit from the shirt.
So I cut it up through the sides, seperating the front and back, then cut out the “American Girl” emblem so that I can later applique it to the front of the dolls’ top as it did not fit the pattern piece for the top because of where it was located on the shirt.
Notice I cut the doll’s top using the existing bottom hem as the doll’s hem as well to retain the original decorative stitching.
I appliqued the American Girl emblem to the front of the top, suprisingly it just fit!
She has a new outfit similar to one of my daughter’s favorite outfits!!! Needless to say, Brianne was thrilled!! Considering how much these American Girl outfits cost, this is a great thrifty way to fill up her closet. (No we don’t have the “Armoire” yet- but I am sure we soon will!)
Best of all I did it all with-in one hour!!
Next week I will show you how to make something really practical that everyone could use and will save you money!!!
Keep up the recycling, re-using, and re-purposing.
Lately there has been a big trend in creating your ideal work space, notice it is NOT referred to as an office!! Creativity in any form or medium is the hottest thing going!! So of course we must have a place or, as they say, “space” to do it!! Personally, I have become addicted to the STUDIOS publication, or the Creative Spaces magazine, where I can browse through the pages and see how others have organized and decorated their “spaces”, many of them make me drool!
When I first started my creative business, I had one sewing machine, a sewing cabinet and a storage box of fabric. Fast forward 10 years and I had a sewing machine, serger, a whole bookcase of scrapbooking materials, tools, two closets worth of fabric and a cabinet of craft supplies. At this time we did not use our dining room as we had an eat-in-kitchen, and with the kids being so little- that worked best. So the dining room was mine and I even built my own work table set up 3 1/2 feet to keep little fingers out of my projects. I had various economical shelf units bought at the local Target and my trusty sewing cabinet/desk, I worked where the kids played and watched TV, but began to dream of my own space- where I didn’t have to always clean everything up – who wants to do that?
Recently, we realized we now need our dining room, so while remodeling our house we enclosed the back porch into an additional room that was intended to be my studio/family room. By this time I have four various sewing machines, a pull out cutting table, several book shelf units and a need for more space as my business grows. My family and I have decided that this is Mom’s Studio, if I promise to take all the materials, tools, and craft supplies stashed in everyone’s closets and the hall closets and put it all in MY Studio!!
This summer I decided to take the time off from my business in order to “create” my “space”!! What a journey this has been! All my machines, tools and supplies had slowly migrated out to my Studio but in no type of order, just haphazardly placed here and there wherever I could find room, as I was too busy being creative to organize it all. Eventually, I found it hard to be productive in this environment and had the worse time locating supplies I knew I had somewhere…. It is embarrassing to publicise my mess like this, but maybe it will inspire you to pull your space together.
I decided to start with finishing the walls as they were still bare dry wall, I spent days “mudding” the walls, priming, and then finally painting!! Did I mention I HATE prep work?! It’ s just no fun at all!!
Each day I got closer to my goal I became relentless, we ate a lot of pizza and Subway those weeks!
Once again every room in the house was holding some of my machines, tools, supplies and furniture, we were a construction zone, and the kids just wanted to go to Disney!!
Now the whole family began to get excited, surely this meant that Mom was going to be a HUGE success, take her business to a whole new level!! I began to think I needed to go out and buy a business suit, the only one I had was from the BC era – you know – Before Children?
Have you ever read the book -( to your children of course) “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”? Well once the walls were done , I couldn’t just leave the ugly concrete floors that horrible brown color, it didn’t go with the color scheme after all. We are on a budget and couldn’t afford to go out and purchase 400 square feet of tiles, like I wanted, so after consulting my favorite decorating magazines, I decided to paint the floor too. Easier said than done, I found out! To paint unsealed concrete you have seal it, paint it, then seal the paint! UHGG! Well I found a better – quicker way: concrete paint with sealer in it- designed for outdoor use, so very durable, after all I didn’t want my hard work peeling off the floor. First time I opened the can of concrete paint I almost keeled over!! Each time I used it on the floor, we had to open all the windows and run multiple fans, the fumes were so strong, and I had to wear a mask, this was in the summer months of June and July- in Florida!! Then there is the whole issue of being on your hands and knees for prolonged periods of time – at my age! ( we won’t go there!). Those days I felt a lot like Mr. Magoo, remember him?? Ha! you just showed your age!!
Finally, the finished room!! I cried!! (my knees were killing me!)
My family agrees, it was well worth the time and hardship – mine of course!
Stay tuned, because in my next post about Where we Create, I will take you through the process of bringing everything back in and organizing a workable space – be warned! It is not for the weak of heart!!
If you have been on Facebook, Twitter, or read any blogs lately, you will have noticed a resurgence in the term “Handmade”. The definition of handmade is: made by hand , not by machine, yet you will still find large companies or brands claiming their items are “handmade”- yet they are still mass produced!
When you do a search on Google for “handmade” you will come up with dozens of venues or shops selling “handmade” items. In today’s artist communities “handmade” has a different meaning, it represents attention to detail and quality, not mass produced quotas.
Why the increased interest in “handmade”, you wonder? There are many reasons I can think of:
One of which is the return of women staying home to raise their children and take care of their families. Which, in today’s economy, can be a huge sacrifice to support a family on one income. So the stay -at-home-moms are taking a hobby or craft and turning it into a cottage industry business that they can operate out of their homes. This combined with our rising un-employment rate is a huge driving force for individuals to start their own businesses, and what better way than on the internet and through the social networks. Starting your own cottage industry business, today, is the most cost-effective way to open a new business.
So that covers why there is more to choose from when buying handmade, so lets answer the question WHY buy handmade?
First and foremost is originality! Tired of seeing the same styles, same prints, same designs, store after store? Want something different? Something designed just for you? There are many artists/designers out there that are happy to take your requests for a custom made item designed just for you. As for designing, with hot shows like Project Runway, there are many new designers out there getting their feet wet and experimenting while creating a name for themselves and they do not have a sweatshop working for them- they are true pioneers as they are doing it all themselves!
Then there is one of the most important reasons, to me, to buy handmade and that is QUALITY and PERSONAL SERVICE! The quality of an item is very important to an independant artist or designer, as this gives their name or brand credibility and can make them or break them, so they pay attention to the quality and the details. They give personalized customer service, YOU are important to them, they want and need you to come back and purchase from them again and to tell all your friends.
Recently, I purchased a skirt for myself that I fell in love with because of the shearness of the cotton and the way the layers were left with the raw edges on the outside, it has a very light and flowy feeling, however after one washing (on gentle cycle) and air drying, many of the seams came apart! I was so dissapointed and angry at the amount of money I had spent on this, knowing I could have created one of much better quality. An example of mass produced “handmade” quota met item!
Then the other day, at my daughter’s pleading request, I purchased a pair of popular teen brand pants that, thankfully, were on sale. As I went to launder those, I checked the tag for instructions ( yes – I do read the instructions!) the tag reads:”stud may disassemble when washed”! WHAT??! These pants have cute little square gold studs down the outside of the legs, they are a cotton/spandex blend jean and I knew I wouldn’t want to put them in the dryer. So I washed them on gentle and took them out, sure enouph there were two studs laying at the bottom of the washing machine! I will now have to use some of my heavy duty fabric glue to re-attach them. These were purchased from a very well known brand, but they don’t seem to be concerned about the quality of their clothing, they even sew in tags warning you about the lack of quality! I frequently wonder how these big name brands continue to be so popular, with such lack of concern over the quality and durability of their product. A small independant business cannot operate that way, they have to be concerned over the reputation their product will produce.
Buying “handmade” assures you of more personal service, better design and quality, or at the very least a more direct way to get satisfaction through your feedback.
Buy Handmade and support the independant Artist!!
I am a stay-at-home Mom, who feels like a single parent to my three wonderful children. My Husband works insane hours and is never home on weekends due to his schedule. Thus leaving me to be the literal Mom-Taxi! But wait! There’s more – I am also a work-at-home Mom, as I own my own business –
K. A. Handmade.
This will all soon become MORE complicated as we are adding a second business to the mix!
What do I do, you ask? Well, I design and create handmade costumes, clothing, home decor and plushies, your wish is my inspiration! I have been doing this since I was in middle school when I learned how to sew.
Now, as you can imagine, trying to do all this along with taking care of a family of five and three dogs, is no easy task. How do I create 30 costumes, shuffle the kids to three separate schools-(no buses!), get them to practice, play dates, shop for groceries, clean the house, do the laundry and walk the dogs?? Holy Cow! I have no idea!!
Organization and cooperation are the key, even though I don’t always feel that my life is organized. It is also by teaching my children to be self-sufficient – wish I could teach my husband that one!! LOL!
They make their own lunches, are responsible for putting their own clothing in the laundry bins because I do NOT search for dirty clothes. Who would want to do that? It means more work after all! They wanted the dogs, so they are responsible for taking care of them. They clean their own rooms and bathrooms and since I do the cooking – they do the dishes. I mean, what are kids for if not to take a load off? Right?
Seriously, my goal here is to raise responsible adults that have a good work ethic and can take care of themselves. At the same time I am hoping that they will pick -up on my entrepreneuring spirit by watching me create a business from something I love to do.
I find that if I get up an hour before my family, then I can get myself organized for the day and once I am organized, then everything runs much smoother. I generally have five hours between the time I drop off the last child at her school- before I have to pick up my oldest and get him to practice. Once we are all home (two hours later- traffic -URG! ) It’s homework time while I prepare dinner. Luckily, the older two do not need much help with their homework, thank God! I am no math whiz!! Once dinner is done I go right back to my studio, which is right off the living room, so I am accessible, but in my zone. When my husband comes home I sit with him while he eats his dinner and we share our day. Then, if I am on a deadline, I go back to my studio. Weekends are another story!
I usually have more time on weekends – until racing season begins! Did I mention my boys are in Crew? Not familiar with it? Ever seen the movie “Varsity Blues” or “The Social Network”? Well being a part of Crew is NOT an activity- it is a way of life! In our house, it has become a year long – life long sport / obsession!!
When racing season begins we generally have a race every Saturday, which is a day-long event. I’m talking 5:00 am to 6:00 pm! In ANY kind of weather, they are more determined than your postman!! The more prestigious races involve many states or regions and are whole weekend affairs.
How do I work with this, you ask? I prepare whatever must be done on the sewing machine and save the hand-work for these days; Buttons, hand stitching, embroidery, crocheting, stuffing and paperwork are saved for ‘race days’ where I sit under a tent in my fold up chair with my sewing bag next to me and my binoculars around my neck waiting for my sons’ races to begin.
I have been seen hand sewing the lace cuffs on the Mad Hatter Costume.
This has actually been a great advertisement for my business, as the other parents arrive currious to see what I will be working on that day. I practice this at other places as well, such as, doctors’ appointments, the dentist’s office, and the dreaded car maintenance appointments. I’ll say it again, this has been a boost to my business as it is a great conversation starter and people are always curious about what I am making. Where there is a will there is a way, and if there is ANY block of time that my hands are free- I will fill them!
This summer my husband has bought me a new Mac-Book Pro laptop, as we will soon open a new business. Now, I can take that with me as well! (Not sure if that’s such a good thing or not!)
By the way, that new business I mentioned? It’s LotusMade.com. You’ve heard it mentioned here for the past several weeks, as we have divulged details about a new E-commerce handmade web-site. We are getting closer to our launch date and SO excited to present to the public a fresh, personal experience in an on-line venue for handmade Artists of all types and a pleasure for shoppers world-wide! Keep reading our posts and be the first to know when we launch LotusMade.com!
As my daily schedule fills up even more, I find new places to create and fulfill God’s purpose for my life.
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