Monday, November 28, 2011

Whoo's News?

"Me, that's whooo..."

I've been working out some new designs for sweet plush friendly owls. (aren't they cute?!) I had made up a few as a trial, and they all sold at my last two shows. That's a pretty good sign that I should do a small production run. The production trial run is tricky, because I try to fine tune all the steps in order to make them in as little time as possible, with as few steps as possible. Keep in mind that I am doing all the work myself, so I look very carefully at whether this new item will work into being a being a new category in my "line", and if I can train my helpers to do some of the work... Most importantly, can I make them for a price range that people will support??

I start by rummaging through my scrap bagS (there are many) At least I have them organized according to color! Once I get everything thoroughly messed up, patterns and colors sort themselves out, and I begin cutting and piecing. Ears and wings were giving me trouble... , but it's my mistakes that usually help pave the way towards discovery of a better way. I just love that indecision and mistakes always seem to work in my favor!

This one has the "before" ears and stick out wings...

And, here's the "after"... Oooh, I do love this one so! Isn't he extra Friendly??!

It's the skinnier ears, (and I LOVE that they are cheetah :o), and am so, so, so much happier with these new wings, close to the body with a big of fluff stuffed inside. The next step is making a couple more, and see if I can get the production time down. Right now I'm at 1.5 hour from scrap hunting to last finish stitch. I'd love if I could make them a wee bit faster.

It's the process I love. That, and the sewing. Oh yeah, all the colorful fabrics, and the yummy recycled felted wool too ... I do so love to stitch it all up, with the mish-mash of colored embroidery floss. I just love it all!

Have a HOOT of a week!
x, Val

PS. These new Owls (plus many more!) will be for sale this Saturday at Artisans' Alley. What a fun holiday shopping event. Mark your calendars. It runs from 9-3...Or, don't be shy about popping over to my etsy shop, and you can pick one up there!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sparkle Sketch

The sparkle nail polish parties are fueling my every creation these days. I just can't help it, the sparkle draws me into it's whirling dervish. I'm completely in love with everything sparkle!

It's a very hard thing to photograph, sparkle ink on paper... good lord, I am seriously contemplating a new camera in order to get a good sparkle shot. What has come over me???! Let me know if you can recommend the best camera that might suit my sparkly needs!

This sweet hopeful bird-hugging girl is from a recent sketchbook entry. She has a gloriously sparkly headband, shoes and striped sweater band, but you just can't tell in this photo...

I took about 25 pictures to show you my sparkle squares, but only one or two show up. My sparkle nails do look nice though... aren't they positively galactic?! (Thanks Julia!)

Here's my newest fave for sketching and drawing... Spica sparkle pens. (What else?!)

Even the most mundane tasks go smoothly with sparkle polish on your nails. I love every fun stitch :o)

Stay tuned for an introduction to what's being stitched up in my studio. I hope to have several made up for Artisans' Alley... coming up next Saturday!

Have a lovely sparkly rest of your holiday weekend :o)
x, Val

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Local Love

Who do you love? (besides your favorite peeps) Turkey? Pumpkin pie? Yep, I know, cause I love them too! Black Friday? Ugh, those crowds, and all that consumerism makes me insane.

How about the people in your own neighborhood? Someone close by is working hard to make your area feel special. I hope you love your local merchants, and will join the cause to support them by buying local this coming Saturday. It's Shop Small Saturday, and I, for one, am planning to do my part, and shop local! And, yes, I will be giving Handmade gifts this holiday season, and soooo proud of it. I hope you are inspired to do the same :o)

Sweet banner courtesy of

Happiest while giving back....
x, Val

Monday, November 21, 2011

magic hope

Page from my sketch book for the 2012 Sketchbook Project. My theme is Hope.

Hope is one thing that keeps me going day after day. Even on days when things are tough, and hope seems far away and fleeting, the next morning dawns, and hope springs anew. I think that's pretty magic. :o)

My art journal for the 2012 Sketchbook Project is coming along, and I am happy with my progress. I am almost 1/2 way through the book. Today, I received my second sketch book, for I have joined the Limited Edition Sketchbook Project as well. At least I have until April 30th to finish this 2nd book. You still have time to join this project, if you are so inclined. You must sign up by Jan 31st, 2012 if you are interested. My theme for the LE version is Thread and Surface. I just love that, and am already brain storming ways to incorporate thread into the surface of my sketches. Piece of cake!

Thanks to all of you who came out to the wonderful Talmadge Art Show this past Sunday (only yesterday? Good lord, my day has been a whirl!) A fantastic group of artists, an incredible crowd, and amazing organizers; Sharon Gorevich and Alan Greenberg have been running this successful show for an amazing 19 years! I had a great day, and am very thankful for all the Hope you bring into my heart. Your appreciation for what I do means the world to me!

Here's a video clip that ran on TV a week ago. I didn't see it due to being tied up with the previous weekend's show, so I'm thankful Sharon posted it on You Tube. Gotta love You Tube! I was one of the featured artists on this clip. Enjoy...

Enjoy your week, and happy Thanksgiving preparations!
x, Val

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter is coming!

Though you'd never know it here in San Diego. We dream of snow days, and frosted windows, and a roaring crackling fire, with cups of steaming cocoa. But then we are happy to leave all that to those north and east of us, as we head out for a run in the 68 degree weather! Oops, sorry, I got a bit side tracked there...

I always love doing a few special holiday pillows. They are little art and mood snippets, and each one inspires the next. I mix up coordinating colors of recycled wool, sew them up, then needle felt a fun scene to the surface. Once that's in place, I select some trim fabric, or ribbon, sew it around the edges, then back it with some fabric scraps I have recycled from another project. Stuff it full of fluff, and there you go! A sweet winter scene to bring cheer to a special spot.

These charming pillows will be on sale at this weekend's Talmadge Art Show. Come out this Sunday from 10-4 to Liberty Station, and see all the winter finery (and more!) offered by a very talented group of artists. Looking forward to seeing you there!

x, Val

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My best customers

... are fourth graders. Yes, it's true. Fourth graders love, love, LOVE the "Cutes", aka Friendlys. Fourth graders have allowances. They are good savers, and wait to spend their money on something they really want. They tell their friends. And they are pretty good about convincing their parents just what they need. Yes, boys and girls alike are drawn to my sweet line of Cutes, and I will pretty much always prefer to sell my things wherever children shop. :o)

Thanks to all of you who came out to shop Local Color, and support the Museum School. You were a great group of people, and I loved meeting each and every one of you! Come back and see me again, for I'm doing the Talmadge Art Show this coming weekend, on Sunday, Nov 20th. It's your chance to buy your special someone a Toasty pillow, or Mr. Sushi, or one of those other Cutes you saw at my booth. Thanks so much for your support!

x, Val

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sparkle Sunday

The truth of the matter is that sparkle nails just make everything better!

My niece, Julia, and I have been having a weekly sparkle fest. It's so much fun! I think between the two of us, we now own nearly every sparkle nail polish Target stocks. We have practiced several options; polish first covered with sparkle, or just plain sparkle. Does the polish lasts longer with or without sparkle? Do we need top coat after sparkle?

I'm happy to report that polish, covered with sparkle, covered with top coat lasts over a week! Even if you scrub the sink with Comet 3-4 times because someone left an iron pan in the sink over night, and you are trying to get rid of the rust stain.... Yes! The sparkle lasts like a champ. In fact, it's a l i t t l e tough to remove. Just a fair warning. Takes something like a jackhammer to get that sparkle off... but it's totally worth it! It's so awesomely bling-y!!

I planned my sparkle to go with this dress. I'm planning to wear it tomorrow to the Local Color Craft Fair. The event is in a warehouse building, and it's bound to be chilly. Not for me though! This yummy wooly dress, my black boots and jeans, and sparkle nails! I'll be one toasty and hot mama!

Come out to Local Color between 11 and 3, and check out the fun and festivities. Lots of my favorite local vendors will be there too, including Make Good, Colleen Townend and Boy Girl Party. There are all sorts of great things to do besides shop too, in case you are pinching your pennies. There's crafts for the kids, a gastrotruck, and an old fashioned photo booth. I can't wait, and think it will be an awesome day! See you there!

x, Val

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hopeful Heart

"Hope" is my chosen theme for the 2012 Sketchbook Project

Sometimes I just need a few moments to lose myself in paint.... or colored pencils... or sweet Friendlys... in some sewing.... or in Hope....

I wanted to post about the 2012 Sketchbook project last week, just in case you thought you might want to join. I heard about this project last winter, when it was too late to join, but I signed up to be notified about it for next year... this year now. (I'm sorry to report the deadline to enter for this year has passed. Oh well, there's next year, right?) I received a small sketchbook in the mail, along with a shirt, and I signed up to have my book digitally entered into the project. I have until mid January to finish the sketchbook. All my thoughts about .... Hope.

Now only an amazing three pages into the sketchbook, I find bits and pieces of time where I can paint my dreams about Hope. I don't have too much free time right now, but I will carve out time so I can fill up my pretty book. It will eventually go on tour with a multitude of other sketchbooks. I love the idea of my artistic sketches going on tour in a museum show ... originating at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City... hee hee :o)

If you are so inclined, you can get in on the Limited Edition Sketchbook Project by clicking this link here. And I have a super secret code that will get you $2.00 off if you want to join, or buy a copy of the Limited Edition book. Ready? Here it is:


Have yourself a Hopeful Fall weekend!
x, Val

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Stuck on you

Urrgh... it's happening to me again. I'm so stuck on you... dang it all!

I ordered the Mary Flanagan textured mini wool bundles from Purl Soho in a recent late night pity party. (pity party action is here, and what I consoled myself with here) The package arrived last week, late afternoon. Everything just screeched to an abrupt halt in the studio... (rolling eyes)

See that luscious big checkered felt on the bottom of the stack? Do you see where it landed in this oh-so-cute little girls jumper? Yep. It was the sole reason this jumper came into being. Something
super special had to get happenin' with that luscious felt. I didn't stop there. Oh no...

From there I moved towards a lovely shift. See how it all came together so nicely? I only spent about 1/2 a day on finding just the right shades of sweater wool to go matching the textured bundles. (Oh, dang you, Mary Flanagan! I am just so stuck on you now!)

Yes, I know, there could be things lots worse than this.

So, how about you? Do you get hopelessly stuck on things too, so that everything just come to a big ol' halt until you can get it out of your system? I know it's the creative artist in us, and it is really a very good thing. For where else would we find inspiration if there weren't things that just stopped us dead in our tracks, and make us pay attention?!

Here's to making artistic headway...

x, Val