Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Today is ....

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Where are you going, GFC?

OK, maybe I'm being over-dramatic, but this is what I feel Google is doing to us - shutting us up and trying to force us over to Google+.    You probably heard that as of this Thursday Google is disconnecting Google Friend Connect.  See that block of followers in my right hand column under "I'm Being Followed"?  If I understand it correctly, all of you will no longer be able to follow my blog using GFC. 

I said, "if I understand it correctly" because I'm really not sure what is going to happen on Thursday, either with my blog followers or with all the blogs I follow in Google Reader.  All the information I read is contradictory or confusing and refers to non-blogger blogs.  So I am a blogger blog. Does that mean all of the blogs I follow in Google Reader are still going to be there? Or not? And are all of my followers from GFC gone, never to return?  I have no idea. Google is silent, other than to say GFC is shutting down and you're invited to join Google+.

So here's my plan, such as it is.  I have made a copy of the URLs of all blogs that I follow in Google Reader. If any of them disappear, I will go to each blog I want to continue following and use the RSS feed to bring them back.  That's what someone told me to do, anyway.

If you are a current follower, look in my right hand column near the top under "Follow Another Bright Idea" and choose one of those methods to continue following.  It includes Facebook (my blog posts go automatically to my business page), RSS feed, or Email.  Any one of these can be used to continue to follow my blog.  There's also links there to my Craftgawker gallery and Pinterest boards.

I hope I don't lose you - I love having you stop by to visit.

And, by the way, I'm not joining Google+.  I don't like being coerced to do anything I don't want to do.

P.S. Remember that movie? Can you name it?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Moanin' Envy

Just one Monday moanin' this morning: 

Never ... on the best dressed, best complexion, best hair day of my entire life ... did I look even half as good as any of the stars on the red carpet last night ...

Anything to do with money?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pinterest Cures Hoarding!!

Did that get your attention?  Are you on Pinterest? Have you heard of Pinterest? NO? Are you living in an underground bunker with no phone, TV, internet? 

Here's how they describe themselves:
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes.

Pinterest is just exploding lately.  Here's a recent article about its climb up the referral traffic ladder.  I also read somewhere that Pinterest now gets more traffic than Etsy, but I can't find a reference for you right now. Of course, familiarity breeds contempt, as the old saying goes. Some people are starting to get worked up about the ability of people to pin anything they see on Pinterest. I'm not getting into that. I'm trying to follow Pinterest Etiquette, and always link back to the original source, giving credit where credit is due. I try not to pin anything that doesn't link back - it's only right to give kudos to the creator.

Here's why I like Pinterest.  I hope it will eventually turn THIS:

Into THIS:

No more clipping, downloading, printing stuff I want to refer to, especially craft tutorials. I would be ever so happy to clear out two shelves in my studio!! 

If you aren't already on Pinterest and you're curious, go here and click on "request an invite." You'll get accepted and then you can browse and pin to your heart's content.  (Make sure you read the Pinterest Etiquette post.) Don't say I didn't warn you that it is definitely addicting.

If you would like to follow my boards and pins, go here.  Happy pinning!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Clothespin Color Samples

I have often seen tutorials for gluing pretty papers or paint swatch cards on to clothespins.  It put a thought in my brain to use this idea to solve a problem I have - I keep losing my paint swatch cards!  I don't know why - I'm usually a "place for everything and everything in its place" kind of person. But I just keep losing track of those darn sample cards!  So I took some time today to do this.

I glued the color swatch and the color name/number to one side of the clothespin. On the back side I indicated the room and paint brand, along with a magnet piece left over from another project.  I added some buttons just for fun. 

These will go up on my fridge so I never lose them again. And when I want to have the color with me when I shop for accessories I can just grab the clothespin and go.  This will work.  That is ... until I decide to repaint and change everything!


Monday Moanin' Go for Broke

Last week's Monday Moanin' was about getting a quote of $300 to replace the handle on a perfectly good microwave.  No way no how am I paying that for a handle.

I suppose it won't be long before I will have to replace the microwave, but in the meantime I figured it wouldn't hurt to try my own DIY repair.  Off to the hardware store for the strongest glue for plastics I could find.  The clerk helped me out after I made him promise he wouldn't tell me to throw it out and buy a new one.  We settled on a product supposedly made for plastic and supposedly something like 2300 psi strong. 

The strip at the bottom of the door was also loose, so I'm trying to fix both. It looks like a Rube Goldberg device or a MacGyver repair, except that I didn't use duct tape.  At least NOT YET.  Here's where it's at right now:

When it's dry I'm also going to put some sort of memory cue on the handle to remind me to be careful with it and not yank it like I apparently did before.  Maybe something like "be gentle" or "don't be a grab a$$.   HA!

Have a great week!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sometimes the simplest things ...

See those "Connect" icons over there in the right column? ------------------------------------------>>>>>>>
I probably spent about 20 hours trying to get that put together!  What you see is not what I started with, though. I tried doing some custom artwork along with the icons but creating those and then trying to get them linked up correctly with the html code was quite the learning curve for me.  I finally gave up on the custom work and used these standard icons I found on the internet.  At least I was able to customize the colors.

I'm disappointed because I so wanted to have cute icons like so many other sites, such as on the Showcase Sisters site. Sheila from Showcase Sisters was kind enough to give me some instructions on how to create the icons.  I also borrowed from this post at A Nest for All Seasons:

Maybe I'll try again some day but for now these will have to do. I just don't have any more time to devote to it. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We Have a Winner!

The winner of the giveaway from Chicalookate, chosen by random number generator,  is:

Deb (TwoCheekyMonkeys)
 I'll be in touch with you to claim your prizes.  Thanks to you and to all who participated.  Be sure to come back again - I'll be interviewing another artist again soon!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Are you breaking copyright law?

Jodi from MCP Actions has a very interesting post on her photography blog today about laws that cover use of copyrighted material on the internet.  She has been the victim of people who removed her watermark and used her photos without permission for print products and internet posts.  When she wrote about the thefts before, it was shocking to me how many people commented that they didn't see a thing wrong with the practice. They believe that anything posted on the internet is fair game.  NOT!!!

Jodi posted a letter she received from explaining the legal issues.  It's great information you should have but hopefully never need. Take a look.

Monday Microwave Moanin'

Here's how the week starts out ...

15-year-old microwave ... works fine, but handle breaks ... technician tells me usually they replace the entire door, but that part is no longer available.  Handle IS available ... service call, part, labor = $300.  NO WAY I'm paying that.

This hits on probably my biggest pet peeve: nothing is fixable anymore. "Dump it and get a new one" is always the advice, which is why we have such a huge trash and electronic waste problem, not to mention the dollars spent in the process.

Monday moanin' fer sure!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Found While Looking for Something Else

In the kitchen. Top shelf. Looking for something else.  That's when I found these little snack containers on a turntable that I acquired when my aunt passed away.  I thought I could use this, either for party snacks or perhaps in my studio for supplies. But the old Harvest Gold color had to go.  Spray paint here we come!

Usually I subscribe to this theory:

"If at first you don't succeed, hide all evidence you ever tried."

But I guess I'm feeling honest today.  I managed to spray paint the containers in a color I like.  So far so good. 

Then I decided it would be cool to use blackboard chalk on the tops so I could label the contents.  


It was the first time I had used chalkboard paint and it seemed awfully thick and lumpy.  Dumb me - I thought that was how it was supposed to be and the surface would even out when it dried.  It didn't. Even worse, when I used chalk to try and condition it, the paint started scraping off. 

It's water based, so maybe I was supposed to thin it a little.  Is that what I'm supposed to do, all you chalkboard paint experts out there?  

I don't like when this happens because I hate going back and trying to fix something I screwed up.  It just loses all its attraction for me.  I don't know what I will do.  It might end up as a donation to the thrift store - or not.  

Maybe I'll just sleep on it.  Yeah, that's the ticket!  I get some of my best ideas when I'm half asleep!  

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In the Michigan Studio with ChicalooKate and a Giveaway

We’re heading to Ann Arbor, Michigan, today for a studio visit with a very interesting, very talented, and very prolific artist, ChicalooKate! 

Your name: Kate Kehoe
Your Twitter page:!/chicalookate
Your Pinterest page:   
 FK: Good morning, Kate. I brought a diet Coke for you and a cappuccino for me.  So let’s start with where you live.

I have spent the last 16 years in Ann Arbor, but I grew up in the Flint area. I have lived in the Mitten for all but 2 sad dark years in Tennessee.  A2 is, for me, the perfect mix of big and small town life. 

It is a fairly liberal town with an ever changing population due to the University of Michigan making its home here.  One of the downsides of A2 is that the rents are so high that a lot of the quirky shops that made me fall in love with the downtown were not able to survive or had to move to other locations.  One of my favorite places in the summer is Dominick’s. I love to meet friends after work to sit outside and drink sangria.  The Michigan Theater is an amazing restored theater that still takes my breath away.  University of Michigan Art Museum is another of my favorite places to go and wander. I don’t go to many concerts, but I love to see shows at The Ark

Outside of the University most people think of the Art Fair when they think of Ann Arbor.  I take part in the craziness that is the Art Fair in a roundabout way. The great folks at Vault of Midnight Comics (another amazing A2 place to check out.) let me rent sidewalk space for the 4 days.  Little Chicaloo trivia fact, Art Fair was the first show I ever did and my helper backed out and I had to run my booth on my own. Not my smartest move, but I made it.

FK: Do you have an art education background? Or are you self taught? How did you get started?
 I am a self-taught artist. I was lucky that there are lots of crafty talented people in my family so I was exposed to a lot of different types of crafts, everything from photography to stained glass to wood working.  I have always made things, but it wasn’t until 2002 that I started to consider that I could sell what I made. I had mono and was tired of reading so I started making jewelry to alleviate the boredom. Friends started wanting me to make things for them which lead me to applying to shows. Over the years jewelry got phased out of my line of work. 
 FK: I love your graffiti photographs. Where do you find them all? 
 Most of my graffiti photos come from around Ann Arbor.  There are some really fun and creative graffiti artists in Ann Arbor.

Anarchists Have More Fun

FK: Talk to me about your etsy shop.  How long have you had your shop?  What was your inspiration?
I opened my shop in January 2006 just 6 months after Etsy opened its doors. I had been considering opening my own website, but it seemed like a lot of work and I just wasn’t up to making the time investment necessary to make a good website. I wanted to make things not spending time looking at html code.  It has worked really well for me since I am growing at the same time Etsy is. I don’t think I could have handled the number of sales I have now back in 2006.

FK: You have so much work in your shop. And the quotes you find are unique. Where do you find them all? 
I search for quotes that will be new for people and not just the same ones over and over. I often put a call out on my Facebook profile for new ones.  It is like a treasure hunt. 

FK: Wow, you really have grown up with Etsy. Tell me about your creative life. What do you love doing the most? What inspires you?
I tell people that I have Craft ADD and OCD. So I have to make a ton of the same style items AND I am easily distracted and need to make new things.  It is a vicious craft cycle. Besides Etsy I do a lot of local shows and it can be a challenge to keep everything organized. 
Carl Sagan Apple Pie Quote Magnet
 A couple of years ago I had a full time job, a part time job and was trying to work on Chicaloo as well. I got really good at being able to fit a lot of work in to a small period of time. A big chunk of what I do is production work so that takes the least amount of time once I get a routine down. Finding the time to make new products and just play with different techniques is much harder. I find inspiration everywhere. I almost always have a camera with me so if I see something that intrigues me I don’t have to regret not being able to take the picture. My latest obsession is Pinterest. There is a crazy amount of stuff there that inspires me. 
I teach Etsy intro classes at the public library here in town and one of the things I tell people is that you can have variety in your shop. The trick is to make it seem cohesive through the photographs and descriptions.  Also, if I do a little each day with the shop it doesn’t seem so daunting.  Photographic prints are not always a big selling item so I have taken to turning my photos into useful items such as notepads, coasters, and pocket mirrors.
Hitchhiking TV Coasters
E.E. Cummings Pocket Mirror
 FK: Where do you work on your art? You are so prolific you must need a lot of room …  
I moved in to my current apartment over 2 years ago and one of the selling points was a second bedroom and A LOT of closet space. But as most crafters know it is easy for it to overrun the whole house even with the best intentions. Right now it looks like a craft store exploded in my living room!

FK: I can totally relate to that, Kate!  What part of being an artist is the most gratifying to you? What part of being an artist is hardest for you, or that you dislike the most?
I love talking to customers, hearing their stories and finding out why my work appeals to them.  I have met some amazing people and am very thankful for that. The hardest part is not having the time I would like to just play and try new things.
FK: I don’t imagine you have a lot of spare time, but what do you like to do when you do have time?
I have a full time job at the University of Michigan which doesn’t leave me a lot of free time outside of art, but I do spend a lot of time reading. I have always been a book person and usually have 2 or 3 books going at once. 
Warren Zevon Quote Magnet

FK: Kate, it has been a treat to get to know you, although we have only skimmed the surface of the work you do.  Now can you tell us what your giveaway will be? 

I am giving away the winner's choice of a magnet, a photo notepad, a pocket mirror and a set of coasters. Here's an idea of what they might choose.

FK: Thank you, Kate. That's a great prize! Here's how everyone can enter.

How to Enter
You have several chances to be entered into the random drawing. PLEASE read carefully; the entry requirements have been changed.

First entry: Visit Kate’s shop AND/OR website, come back here, and enter a comment about your favorite piece(s).
Second entry: Enter a comment if you have signed up to follow Kate’s blog AND/OR Facebook page (or comment if you already follow).
Third entry: Enter a comment if you have signed up to follow Kate on Twitter AND/OR Pinterest.
Fourth entry: Enter a comment that you signed up to follow my blog (or comment that you already follow).
Fifth entry: Enter a comment that you signed up to follow my Facebook page AND/OR my Pinterest page (or comment that you already follow).

That's five chances to enter for the random drawing!  Please be sure that your correct email address is in your profile; if it is not, include your email address in your comment.  I will use random generator to pick a winner after 12 noon EST on

Wednesday, February 15

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Moanin' ... Squirrely

I despise ... these big ... fat ... mean ... arrogant ... squirrels who shoo the birds away and eat all of my birdseed, all while performing their fat acrobatics.

 I have tried everything to keep them out short of killing them (I'm sure there's a city ordinance against that) but nothing works.  They even manage somehow to damage (see the patch?) and UNSCREW the all-metal feeder ... and THEN they sit there and mock me for trying to chase them away ...

And they keep getting fatter ... and fatter ... and fatter ...

I may have to get a job just to pay for the bird seed ...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sunshine and Artists and Trades, Oh My!

It was such an un-Michigan winter day today! Bright and sunny, with temperatures in the 50s.  A perfect day to spend with a group of like-minded artists who are part of a newly formed Facebook group: Southeastern Michigan Artist Trading Spot.  Some of the artists knew each other, but most of us met for the very first time today.  The spark that got this all going is Joyce Matthews who graciously opened her home for us.  And she creates the most adorable sock monkeys.  (Seriously, you've never seen sock monkeys like this. See the end of this post.)

 We all live near each other in cities north of Detroit, and part of the impetus in getting together today was to bring our no longer needed or wanted supplies to trade with each other.  Of course, we also shared snacks and wine and lots of laughs while getting to know each other.

And about those supplies ....

'Splain to me how we all went home with MORE stuff than we came with!  I knew that was going to happen.  Artists!  We are such crazy "I can do something with this" people ...

That's me above with Joyce. I was so impressed with these women - they are all so accomplished!  Most of them not only have an online presence, but they also have their work on consignment in many different shops in the area.  I'm so looking forward to getting together again.  It's nice to be around people who "get" you, isn't it? 

Listed below are images and links to the shops of those women who are online.  Take a peek - you'll love them all. 
Made by Marsha

Sunshine's Friends

Micah 7

Luscious LaVerne

Felt On The Fly

It's So Patty Designs


Brass Menagerie
Divine Iguana
Molly Coddle

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