Friday, December 31, 2010

The Time To Follow Your Dreams

Fantastic letter blocks by Ditto

Is now... right NOW!

As 2010 draws to a close, I find I am pondering many things, but mostly how lucky I am that I found my calling, and that it is true and right for me. For the longest time before I started my business, I wasn't sure exactly what my calling was. Oh, I had many promising interests and loves, but they seemed to walk hand in hand with my doubts and misgivings. Fortunately, something changed all that.

It was about 5 years ago, a friend came to visit us, who had been experiencing some major health problems. Through one situation after another, our friend had an encounter with angels, which guided his full recovery and changed his life forever. Of course, I had to share my angel story with him. I also told him that I didn't know what the angels message was for me, as I was so petrified the night the angels came to visit me that I was unable to hear their message. He encouraged me to set a date, and to call my angels back and ask them to share their message with me. So, nervously and shakily, I promised, I set the date and put it on my calendar.

The night came, I recreated my necessary environment as best I could. I kicked the boys out of their bunkbed (lovingly!), and went to sleep up top. Certainly, I was called awake in the middle of the night. And I received the message I'd been waiting for: Do what I know best, listen to my heart, and follow it forever... Wow. Is that it?? Could it really be as simple as that??!

Well, then and there is when I began. I stopped living for what I thought others wanted of me, and began living for what I know is best for me. The very next year is when I put myself out there with Val's Art Studio, and the rest is (I guess) history. Or, at least it's history in the making!

The reason I'm sharing this with you is because I am so glad I finally did it, I finally began following my dream. True, I was in my mid-40s... but heck! Better late than never! I am meeting so many fine people in this fantastic handcrafted world, and I am kinda' jealous of those people who are so much younger, and they are already following their dream. Just look at how much longer they get to enjoy doing what they truly love to do!

So, that's my message for you as this last light of 2010 draws to a close. If you are on the fence about what your heart is telling you, I hope you will take a leap - do it now. I think we are happiest when we truly listen to the wisdom of our heart, and follow what it tells us to do. Get ready to live your best and most fulfilling life ever, with your heart in the drivers seat!

Happy New Year, Happy New You! Happy 2011 too! (Please be safe tonight!)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


... about this Fabric!!!

Well, the truth of the matter is that you can't hardly see the picture to the left. It's too dang small. But you can head on over to Hawthorne Threads to see their introduction of the entire line by Ruby Star Rising, aka Melody Miller, fabric designer extraordinaire (I love her).

Okay, I will warn you, the fabric pretty much sold out from Hawthorne Threads in a day. I know.... sheesh! It's just certainly that good. I only managed to buy a few 1/2 yard-1 yard pieces before it was all gone. But, I will have a bit of my very favs... the Transistor Radios, and (eek!) the Viewfinder Reels. Oh my, I am excited! I did manage to get Vintage Dishes as well. Oh, I'm a lucky girl indeed :o) My sewing will be going into overdrive... I am planning a big ol' Hole-Up in my studio... I will be sharing some serious one on one with these fabrics, um-humm!

So, just a quick update on 'what's the haps' over here... I am moving my studio-AGAIN. This time to our new home. I loved having my studio at my mom's house, but would invariably bring things home to work on. Then, certain things (a needle felting machine or something of that sort) would get left behind, and I'd find myself doing the constant shlep back and forth between Coronado and Pt Loma, muttering under my breath all the while... Ok, I'm striving for zen.... and peaceful, happy thoughts, etc. The madness of the schlep was bringing me down. So, move again, and once I'm settled, I just know my new fabrics will arrive! I cannot wait, and goodness will resume, once again, from Val's (soon-to-be very fashion forward and fabulous) Art Studio.

Happiest of the Season to you, and yours. I promise a heartfelt look back at our diminishing 2010, with thoughts, plans and hopes towards a fruitful 2011. Are you doing the same???

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Modded" Christmas Card From Me To You :o)

"Modded"... is it an everyday word in your home, like it is in ours? Somehow, everything needs to be "modded" in a household with two teen boys (means Modified, if you aren't in the know!) So, they modded my Christmas card image. Even my husband scolded me for not sending this image out on our cards. Well, too late, plus the program I used wouldn't accept a Picnik modded photo. Go figure. So, I am sharing it with you here, in case you need a chuckle. Even though I already posted a Happy holiday greeting, here's another one from me!

Merry Christmas from our modded house to yours!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Bit of Christmas Cheer

... from me to you!

Ahhh, some frost and snowy cheer over here! It's holiday happiness in action :o)

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season, enjoying all that Christmas brings your way. Cups of holiday cheer, friends and family near... enjoying sounds (and songs) of the season. Taking time to enjoy each little small miracle that Christmas magically brings into our hearts. These are the things I wish and hope that Christmas brings your way, and to those that are dear to you.

I am looking forward to finishing up my custom holiday orders very, very soon (just 2 more left to do!!). Soon I will be relaxing with my family... sipping eggnog, knitting, just sitting... with my feet up and nothing to do... bliss! It's been a magical holiday season here at Val's Art Studio. I feel so blessed with all that's come my way. All the goodness... I have been offered a wonderful opportunity, that I can't wait to share with you... and I hope to tell you about it very soon. So, so thankful... that's me!

I hope you can enjoy every fresh moment of the season. If stress creeps into your day, turn on that Christmas music, and think and remember what this special time is all about.

The happiest holidays to you and yours!!!
x, Val

Monday, December 13, 2010

Austin's Gallery Open House this Sunday, Dec.19, from 2-4!

Austin's Gallery... Just two blocks from the world famous Hotel Del Coronado...

All photos in this post courtesy of

Come on by this Sunday, December 19th! Austin's Gallery is having a Holiday Open House from 2-4 pm. Treat yourself to a cup of Christmas cheer, a bite of holiday fair, and meet all the artists!

Coronado is the happenin' spot, did you know?! Restaurants, shopping, walking, historic homes, charm galore, Coronado is a day tripper's paradise. Just two blocks away from Austin's Gallery is the world famous Hotel Del Coronado. Decked out to the nines for Christmas, it even sports an Ice Rink! Right next to the beach, no less! Take a closer look by clicking here. Spending a day in this picturesque town is like having a vacation spot in your own backyard. It's paradise.

So, come to Coronado for the art and artists, and stay all day for the fun. Bring your family and friends. What a glorious way to spend the last weekend day before Christmas! See you this Sunday :o)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Handmade... The New Chic

Felted + Beaded Brooch by Jeanette Cook, Beady Eyed Woman

It's time. Yep, it really is. It's time for Handmade to shine. Enough with the "made in China", and all the money spent on imported goods. Why would any person in their right mind buy these sorts of products when there are completely incredible goods made right here, "Made in the USA", most likely by one of your neighbors? If you are guilty of that, then it might be time to rethink how to go about buying "Handmade"!

Lovely Nuno Felted Vessel by Amy Morris

As we are currently in the thick of "Handmade Season", and what I mean by this is that there's practically a craft show on every corner, during every weekend, and around every bend!
When you see one of these, I suggest running as fast as you can t-o-w-a-r-d-s the craft show, not away from it!

It used to be these shows were filled with mediocre "granny style" art... what you'd buy to give your granny for Christmas! But not any more! These shows are a delight for the eyes, showcasing the most imaginative, creative, fantastic finds. You can't possibly find this sort of artsy finery at the mall. Really.

Gorgeous hemotite and silver pendant (left) by the fabulous and lovely Jane Tipton Designs. Jane makes jewelry for the everyday goddess.... will wonders never cease :o)

If you stumble upon a good craft show, bookmark it. Get on the mailing list, sign up with the artists, take business cards! Most importantly, let everyone there know how much you like what they are doing. Then, go back next time, and buy the artists work you like. Support your local artists! Their prices are totally affordable (more than fair), their products exceptional, and something you will love for years to come. I know this, because I have been shopping craft shows for years. These handmade works are the ones I truly treasure. Those mass produced items from China are the ones that get tossed first into my give-away bin. And believe me, in our current time of reduce, reuse, etc... when I do spend money, I am all about buying the things that really send me to the moon. Things I really can't seem to live without (uh, yeah! When it comes to jewelry and felted goods. Duh!)

The other spot to find Handmade goods is in your local artist co-op. Practically every town has one. I am involved with three awesome shops... one in Coronado, Austin's Gallery. No.2 is in South Park called Make Good. The third is the fabulous Hello Bluebird in West Reading, PA. I'm so sure there is one in your neighborhood too.

Today, I am most excited about the 100% honest products I bought from Skinfolk at last weekend's Handmade Holiday Pop-Up Show. Tisha boasts "natural skincare, at it's best". Just days into using several of her magical products, I am giving up purchasing skin care products at the beauty counter at the mall, and ordering nature's best remedies lovingly blended by none other than Tisha herself. And she lives right here, in San Diego. Heck. Really, what could be better?

Handcrafted... you rock! (You too Tisha, and all the handcrafted artisans I've supported this season!) Now, go find yourself a craft fair, and a co-op gallery. Support your local artists. You'll be so glad you did.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Grateful... Thank You For A Wonderful Saturday

Photo 1. Organizers extraordinaire Dane and Susie, 2. Henri Hopper , 3. Kyle models a fantastic
shirt by neopolitan ecowear, 4. Our small shopping room was filled to the brim for almost the entire show.

Very Grateful. Thank you for the most wonderful day, the beautiful compliments, friends and supporters, new and old. Thank you for the energizing and amazing day!

(As always, my camera was seemingly on vacation during Artisans' Alley. I think I managed to take 1 photo at the start of the day... but now my connector is missing... I can't win...) at least my iPhone came to the rescue at the Handmade Holiday Pop-Up Show :o)

Artisans' Alley is a gift to me, as it's been each year since I began showing there. New vendors, well organized, tremendous crowds, and showcasing band and choir from Coronado's Elementary, Middle and High Schools. I love it! Wow, 4 years of your fantastic support since I began my business. What a gift!

The Handmade Holiday Pop-Up Show was everything I expected and more. Susie and Dane did an amazing job of organizing a tremendously successful event as part of Space 4 Art's December opening and show. Hopefully the first event of many more to come, the location is exceptional. Two artists hosting openings filled with incredible multi-faceted and edgy art. 35 open artist studios featuring an array of sculpture, painting, mixed media, even puppetry! An amazing, AMAZING outdoor space with a stage, and plenty of space to host bands, show art, installation, food offerings, and more. AND, the Pop-Up Shop, with 14 handmade artisans selling great stuff. (I know, I bought something from nearly every vendor!) Great crowds of artsy folks. Loved - every- minute! So, thank you for the opportunity to be a part of it all!

I seem to be recovering slowly from Saturday. It's life in the post-crafting-fog lane... If you see me, it probably looks like I'm sleep walking. Yep, I am. But, I'll be back to normal soon, I promise. Got to finish up those custom orders. Don't worry, I will!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Happenings This Saturday!

Yes, this coming Saturday, Dec 4th, is my big 2-show-day,
and it's fast approaching!

Artisans' Alley is from 9-3
in the Coronado Elementary School Playground lot on 7th and H Street
Click here for more info

Handmade Holiday Pop-Up Shop! is from 6-10p
at Space 4 Art classroom, 325 15th Street, East Village, San Diego
Click here for more info, and a map to the event.

I have been a bit less frantic with my preparations than usual, but I think that's because I'm a wee bit dog-tired from doing all these shows. Our recent home move didn't have a thing to do with it either... A derailment from production due to a nasty head cold, plus Michelle being out for 2 whole weeks due to wisdom teeth removal + complications also put a crimp into my works. By now the cold is gone, and Michelle is back. Life has returned to being good! I'm sure I will have enough inventory to show, and hopefully a few new items for those folks who only come out to see me during Artisans' Alley.

I was really on the fence about doing Artisans' Alley this year. In fact, I didn't sign up for it until only 3 weeks ago! I was so lucky that I caught them just as booth assignments were going out, so I could muscle my way back in to my regular space, booth 66. What swayed me were the sheer number of people who told me they were looking forward to seeing me at Artisans' Alley this year. So, thank all of you for the push!

The Handmade Holiday Pop-Up Shop! will feature so many handmade artisans, 35 open artist studios, and an art opening for Judit Hersko and Lea Dennis. It's bound to be a real happening, and it's in it's very first year. It's created and curated by Susie Ghahremani of Boy Girl Party, and Dain Bornstein of Dainty, two women are really have the power to make art happen, if you know what I mean. I'm thrilled to be invited to attend this inaugural show and event. Please don't be swayed by the location, for Space 4 Art is in the hippest, coolest block in the East Village. You will want to check this out for sure!

I will forewarn you though, that many of my best pieces have been bought up at previous shows. Such is the nature of handmade... really, I can only create so much, and my creations are few if many people want to buy something so special and artfully created. I'm only putting this out there in case you have your heart set on something special. Best to get a jump on these shows, and show up to the first one of the season (too late for that, but keep it in mind for next year!), or... be an early bird shopper! Artisans' Alley begins at 9am!!! See you bright and early this coming Saturday Or, nice and late for the HH Pop-Up Shop! :o)