Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'm on Whatever... Whenever!

According to my friend Jessica Wesolek, I'm an amazing and talented person! Cool. She sent me an email today warning me "don't blush TOO much." Read what she wrote on her blog and then guess... did I blush too much?

It's always strange to read about yourself from someone else's point of view, but I admit, it feels pretty good too! She posted a bunch of my artwork from her various classes. I keep thinking... I wonder if I should do an ebook version of my past art journals? Would that be of interest to folks? Tell me what you think.

Also, if you want to hang out and carve stamps with me tomorrow at The BeeHive, all the info is HERE. If you don't want to take a class and already have your own materials, then come and hang out anyway.

The BeeHive is open from 3-9pm and you can work on whatever you like. I've been focusing on needle-felting. Needle-felting Lilah Beans, actually! Yes, yes, I know I need to take a picture! I get so into stuff when I'm teaching, or even just hosting, that I don't think of taking photos until too late. I need to get my paparazzi, Laurie on the case.

Anyway - Friday is rubber stamp carving playday.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Right-Brain Biz Plan

Two years ago, I stumbled across the book The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success by Jennifer Lee. I loved the concept - that there was a way for someone who thought in images, to survive - and thrive- in the left-brain business world.

My kids will tell you that I only read books with pictures. And as far as business books go - this one is loaded. Even so, I find it hard to get motivated simply by reading a book. But when something is really important, the Universe moves in and starts poking, shoving, or using the ole whack to the side of the head to get our attention. While procrastinating on my own plan, I went to the Squam Art camp (NH) and ended up taking a mini-workshop with Jennifer Lee. I was swept up in her contagious enthusiasm and immediately signed up for her RBBP workshop online.

And ordered her accordian book kit. And then signed up for licensed facilitator training. But I'm getting ahead of myself! The kit had stickers! And the class had fun videos and worksheets and colorful teeny post-it notes and I found myself making trading cards depicting my values and collages of my ideal customers, and vision boards filled with all the ads and brands that I admire. I found myself yelling "I LOVE money! I DESERVE money! I'm NOT afraid of money!" And because this was an online class, I didn't humiliate myself no matter what I yelled. Although I did frighten the cat...

A few people have told me that they haven't gotten themselves to crack open the book, even with all the pictures. A few people have taken the video class with Jen and still haven't actually done the work. Because cutting and pasting magazine pictures is scary. I get it. And we all learn in different ways. I need the book, the video AND hands-on attention. Maybe you are like that too? So far-right-brained that you tilt when you walk? Nothing to be ashamed of. But I have finally started to understand WHY the whole "planning it out" is so terrifying to us. Well, one reason anyway! It's because - even if we have a pretty good idea WHAT we want to do (like teach or open a store or blog...) we aren't clear on the WHY.

One of the projects in the Right-Brain Business Plan Book that I most enjoyed was making a deck of Values Trading Cards. Make a list of individual values that are important to you. Then find pictures that express those concepts and glue 'em onto a piece of cardstock. Then, whenever you need to evaluate a new opportunity or idea or purchase, you flip through your deck and see if it is in line with your values. Genius. Here's what I learned about myself:

 1. Creativity.    No-brainer, right? (Hmmm... how about a No-Brainer Biz Plan?) If something doesn't have some aspect of creativity involved... I could care less. This includes problem solving in general. If there is nothing to be solved, no challenge to overcome, no mystery to reveal - let someone else deal with it.

2. AWE.    Magic, mystery, spiritual stuff, super-powers! Whatever you call it, I need a sense of "Wowwwww....."

3. ENERGY.   Inspiration, passion and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I'd put good health in here too.

4. FAIRNESS. Oh yeah. Maybe it's the middle-child in me, but I do spend a lot of time kicking things and yelling "That's not FAIR!!" But it's also the part that pushes me to try and make things right with others no matter what. Sometimes this one really sucks.

5. KNOWLEDGE.   I just really need to know how stuff works. How it's made. Did you know that polar bears don't have white fur? It's actually transparent to let the sun through to their skin... which is actually black to retain the heat. Don't worry, the Universe had it's little joke by sending me a son who is even MORE like... that. [Alex at around 6 years old, early, early one Saturday morning...."Mom, wake up! I wrote you a paper about Angkar Watt because you really need to know this. Don't worry, there are pictures."] He was right. I really DID need to know. Angkar Watt is like Atlantis. It was a lost, mythical city/temple. Except... it's real.

6. RESPONSIBILITY. A bit like fairness, but I see it as - everyone needs to take responsibility for themselves. You broke it, you fix it. (or - I broke it, I have to fix it). I don't mind helping, but everyone needs to fess up and then cooperate.

7. OPTIMISM.  I'm actually more of an Optimistic-pessimist. Or maybe it's a pessimistic-optimist? "Cheer up," she said, "things could always be worse." So I cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse. Or maybe you prefer "When going through Hell, keep going."

8. RESOURCEFULNESS. Yes, we can figure this out! There must be a solution. If I just keep trying things, something is sure to be successful...

9. SATISFACTION. Well, does it make you feel good? :-) Doesn't that cat just say it all?

I think it's time to redo my RBBPlan, but these cards will always be my values. I encourage you to make a set too.

I'll be doing a Right-Brain Business Plan workshop at TangleU in Massachusetts next month. If you are attending, you'll get a copy of the RBBP book and we'll do lots of cutting and pasting (bring scissors, gluesticks and some magazines). If you have done any RBBP projects or vision boards or such things, please bring them along too.

If you aren't able to attend, or even if you are... Jennifer Lee is doing a weeklong Right-Brainers in Business Summit starting on Monday (February 25th-March 8th). There's no fee, it's only about an hour each day and it might be a good way to kickstart yourself into getting something down on paper. Jen will have a bunch of other amazing people such as Jill Badonsky and Kelly Rae Roberts. And when you sign up, you get to listen to an interview with Marney Makridakis who runs Artella.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Heart Zenflake by M.W.

Hi Sandy,

I just wanted to take a minute and thank you for your awesome Zentangle books.  A little bit about me-- I have always loved art and like to dabble in it some (mainly coloring, paint by numbers, etc.) but have never been very good at creating my own stuff.  I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the last few years have been really hard.  I have needed a creative outlet and began doing some art therapy as part of my treatment.  I am a musician but oftentimes music becomes too stressful-- I'm too much of a perfectionist, and, plus, it's kind of my job.

I randomly discovered Zentangle a few months ago and shared it with my therapist.  She was excited and we began incorporating it in my therapy as well as in a group I attend.  I was recently in the hospital (I go there for treatment from time to time) and shared it with the recreating therapist there--she also has begun to use it.

ANYWAY, your books in particular have been very inspirational to me.  I bought "Yoga for Your Brain" a few months ago and then was given "Totally Tangled" for Christmas.  I love the way you organize your books--showing techniques and designs so clearly and then using them as a springboard for inspiring creativity.  It gives me just enough guidance to make me confident in creating my own zentangles.

The last few days have been really rough for me.  It's a snowy day today in Utah.... I decided to cuddle up in my electric blanket and work on some art--and came up with this heart zenflake (maybe "heartflake"or "melting heart" ?).  I'm so surprised at what I came up with.  I feel so much calmer and am ready to face the new year. 
So...thank you!

Heart Zenflake by M.W.

 [Note: M.W. used tangles from Totally Tangled:  
Bleeding Hearts, Btl Joos, Heartline, and Alice.
Just beautiful!]

Inktense Tangle

I won't explain this piece. But I did it as homework for the Inktense class I have been taking online with Jessica Wesolek. It is a wonderful class - if you are intrigued by Inktense pencils - Jessica is starting up a new session of this class on March 15. Visit her website for all the details and to sign up.

I almost forgot to add that the tangles used are from my ebook, The Tangles of Kells.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Tip on Tips

"How are you going to make money?" a common question when I tell people about my BeeHive studio idea. I don't really have a good answer except "It's more of a networking opportunity..." But some of my regular bees, and a few random visitors as well, have suggested I have a "tip jar" so people can toss in some contribution for using my studio, materials and gray matter.

I actually did some google research on tip jars and was underwhelmed at the options available. So I created my own...

I found a charity-type box at Staples and then customized it with Legos, of course. I think it has a nice serene feel to it, don't you? Very GREEN. (Subliminal thought: "Green. Think GREEN.")

Ah, a calm, lovely, pond-side park...

 You have to look a little closer to see the "story"...

And this guy here is IN the tip box! I wonder where he got that bone... ?

Anyway, come see the amazing tip jar in person! And put some green stuff in it. (No, Lilah, not boogers!? eeew.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Inspiration Pads

Last fall, I stumbled across the clever-est idea - Inspiration Pads! These slim, 32 page notebooks were designed by Marc Thomasset of TM in Belgium. I tracked them down and ordered a whole bunch. It's taken me over a month to actually get them up on my shop so you can buy them. I apologize for the delay, but they are there now.

Here's the description I put on my Etsy shop:
If you have been trying to get yourself to journal more, these Inspiration Pads may be exactly what you need to get.... inspired. Designed by Marc Thomasset in Belgium, these notebooks are slim and easy to carry around in your bag. But each page offers a warped interpretation of a standard, lined notebook page.

I love all things that promote creativity. As soon as I saw these notebooks I was so excited I tracked them down and ordered a bunch. The biggest drawback I found was that I am afraid to "ruin" my copy. It's so beautiful and clever. So I am selling them in sets of two notebooks. That way you have no excuse not to use at least one of them!

You really have to SEE them to know why I think they are so amazing. Take a look at these photos from TM's website:

I think they are totally GENIUS (ie: wish I'd thought of it!) And I hope I can get up enough nerve to let myself write in one. :-) If you have more nerve than I do and want to order your own copies to play with, you can get them at my Etsy shop, Bumblebat. These would also make perfect gifts for a friend who is trying to get started writing again, or journaling, or how about a graduation present? I can imagine using one to keep track of "boring" information or to-do lists... And if you are truly dedicated, or maybe a little crazy, these lines could serve as the "strings" for some very intense Zentangles!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Zentangle Memorial

Here's a wonderful email (and a great idea) I wanted to share with you:

Thank you for being a mentor. I found your book and started tangling to relieve stress. Then started to read and enjoy your posts. We recently had a shocking death in the family. 51 in good health just got up one morning and died. He was a new grandfather of a gorgeous 2 yr old princess and one on the way. After the services they asked for memories of him to make a scrap book so his grandchildren would know him. I took mine home to work on. I am not very good but I did a zentangle for him. I hope the picture comes out ok. Anyhow thank you for bringing some joy to my life.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Snow Ball!

Something to think about...
The definition of mentor is "an experienced and trusted adviser."
And dementors are "soul-sucking fiends who cause people who encounter them for too long to lose their minds."

I have been trying to release my dementors and replace them with real mentors. Not only am I meeting some really cool people, but I find my dependence on chocolate to be dwindling. :-)

Last week, one of my mentors challenged me to draw a snowball. We had been talking about how "good stuff" we do is all white and fluffy and accumulates - often without our noticing, but then one mistake and all we see is that tiny black flake against all the white. Or, rather, that's how I tend to see it. I need to re-see it as the tiny speck getting absorbed into the white mass and disappearing. So, she told me to create a picture of that snowball...

I am SO bad at following directions exactly! No! That's my little black speck... let's see... re-phrase, re-phrase... "I am too creative to accept a challenge at face value and I am determined to inject my perspective and personality into anything I decide to follow through with."

That said.... welcome to my "SnowBall"...

A great time was had by all!

And this morning, my Mini-Me said "OMG! Show me how to draw a Snow Ball too!" I told her, all she had to do was stack a few circles and I went to work out on the Wii...

In true snowball fashion... ("I am too creative to accept a challenge at face value and I am determined to inject my perspective and personality into anything I decide to follow through with." )... Lilah improved on the party with ball gowns and better music. In fact, her Ball got so "hot" it brought on Spring and everyone started melting. Note the puddled snowman in the upper left.

I hope everyone stays warm and safe throughout the upcoming blizzard. And here's hoping this snow is at least good for making snow-people!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Binx and the Valentine Nine

That sounds like a great title for a kids' book doesn't it!

Actually, Binx and the Valentine Nine are greyhounds. And an auction. Here's a note from Terri Malloy, explaining...

The Auction of the Valentine Nine will run only on Facebook, and will benefit Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue in Swanzey, New Hampshire.  The auction will only have 10 items in it; The Valentine Nine and I'm offering up one custom made sculpture of the winner's dog (doesn't have to be a greyhound). This auction will run from February 3rd - 10th. The 9 paper mache sculptures are of each of our senior and special needs greyhounds waiting for new forever homes. They are being decorated by artists all over the US, including 7 CZTs. Each sculpture will come with a custom beaded collar, picture and bio of the greyhound it represents. As you can imagine seniors and special needs dogs need extra care and this auction will provide funds for their medical care, special food and other needs. Please share with all of your animal loving friends. The auction will end on February 10th and all greyhounds will be sent to you in time for Valentine's Day. Thanks for all of your hard work! 
Terri Malloy, Marketing Director

Be sure to take a look at the Facebook page to see all the amazing dogs - many are tangled. I am a cat person and I was fascinated to learn from Terri that greyhounds are considered the "cats of the dog world." Weird - tell me more Terri....

They call greyhounds the cats of the dog world because of their lazy personalities. They lounge around all day, play for a short while and go back to sleep. They're great for people that want a companion dog but don't want a high energy dog that needs a ton of exercise. 

Perhaps the perfect dog! And unlike cats, they don't sashay across your desk and step on your keyboard while you are blogging.

As you have already guessed, when Terri asked if I would decorate a pup for the auction, I said "Yes!" I was assigned "Binx."

This is the "real" Binx.
Binx is the oldest of the bunch and in 2005, her last year of racing, she ran in 47 races. I was inspired, after two days of staring at her, to create an image that honored her age and status. Old, but sturdy, surviving the years, classic... hard to define, but I hope you'll see it too. If you are interested in the steps, I'll show them here. If you just want to see how she turned out, jump to the bottom of this post.

The dogs lining up to travel to their artists. Binx is the only one who is sitting.
In the buff. What to wear, what to wear?

I sculpted the tiles onto her sides with Creative Paperclay. This air-dry clay is really lightweight, but strong. I had hoped to transfer my tangles directly onto the paperclay using Sheer Heaven, and the idea DID sorta work (paperclay is absorbent), but the curved, textured surface proved too difficult.

But then I was reminded of a cool technique by Bonnie Wright - one of my regular bees at The BeeHive. This is the perfect way to get images onto a textured surface... draw (or stamp, or transfer, etc.) the designs onto very thin white tissue paper. Then tear out the images (draw the tear line in water with a brush) and decoupage them onto your project.

I used the Sheer Heaven to transfer my drawings to the tissue paper and then matte medium to adhere them to Binx.

Since the clay and the medium really suck up paint, I painted a bit of gloss medium over the images on the tiles so I could wipe off the paint in the next step...

This is the really fun - and slightly nerve-wracking - part. It is impossible to know exactly how the materials will react to the paint... I started with the redder, rustier acrylics, brushing them into the cracks and wiping them away from the tile surfaces.

I added darker browns to add age and dirt. I didn't add any black though. I wanted more of an antique-y, sepia kind of feel.

The last step was to sand random areas to suggest wear and tear.

And here is my finished Binx...

I'm getting rather attached to her...

If YOU would like to get attached to her, be sure to visit the auction on Facebook and place a bid. Just think, someday, when I'm famous, this Binx statue will be worth a fortune! ;-D And you will be helping some really wonderful greyhounds enjoy their retirement.


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