Tuesday, October 30, 2007

See you next year, God willing

As I type this the windows are rattling and I can feel a rumbling vibration under my feet. The farmer is harvesting the corn from the field bordering our backyard. I am not a farmer, but how great it is to experience a bit of the harvest up close.

Tomorrow night we’ll celebrate God’s Harvest as a family, and forgo the usual Halloween traditions. Tom and I will take the kids out to eat, and afterwards I’ll break out the candy corn, autumn colored M&M’s (I love those!) and we’ll talk about God’s many blessings to us.

I loved Halloween as a kid, and my brother and sister and I took trick or treating very seriously – it was an athletic event we practically trained for. My kids are aware of what they’re missing – they are certainly exposed to Halloween in the public school they go to. But, I think having a cornfield in our backyard and seeing the actual progression from barren ground, to seed, to seedling, to plant, to glorious huge golden cornstalk loaded with corn…helps them to see and feel the rhythm of God’s providence, His blessings. I know it has blessed me, and I'm grateful.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

it's arts week!

I'm so excited that it's Arts Week! This week at Midday Connection, a daily program held on the Moody Broadcasting Network, they are exploring Christian faith and the arts, with a variety of authors, artists, and speakers.

Exploring how my art relates to my faith, and how my faith relates to my art... and how I can use my art to glorify God has on my heart for a long time.

*Listen to the Arts Week programs anytime here.
*Interested in learning more about Arts and Faith? Check out the Arts Week suggested reading page
I am going to start out with Francis Schaeffer's "Art in the Bible". Join me!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

you never know...

This is a bee balm flower that I pressed earlier this summer in the Microfleur. I never thought of pressing bee balm, since it had such a bulky center...and I didn't have the heart to take them away from the hummingbirds. But, the hummingbirds must have been hanging out elsewhere this summer, so I tried pressing a few of them. What pleasant surprise! They look like fireworks! I'm thinking of making a large vertical collage with them...something dramatic and unusual.

Remember my elephant ear leaf pressing experiment awhile back? Well, that didn't go so well. The leaf turned brownish black and brittle, and had a bit of a mildew order. Perhaps I put too much pressure in the leaf? I'm not sure. I have one leaf left, and will try it again with less pressure to see if I'm right.

I also made a handmade paper leaf cast of one of the elephant ears, (one that was over a yard long!) and that turned out remarkably well. I took pictures and will show you that soon.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Part Two: Turning over a new leaf

Continued from previous post...
The next morning I accidentally stumbled upon a scrap- booking web site raving about something called “Perfect Paper Adhesive”. It was touted as a great adhesive, but also works as a flexible, strong matte sealer that just happens to be UV resistant, and it was reportedly safe on flowers. I jumped in the car and flew over to the nearest Michael’s, and by late afternoon I knew my dilemma was solved. It works great! Thankfully it’s completely non-toxic, and all I had to do was to apply a very thin coating over the flower, stem, and leaves with a soft brush. When it dries, it covers the botanicals in a barely perceptible, but tough, flexible film, that is amazingly durable. The pressed flowers on the cards can be stepped on, crumpled, folded, spilled on, (not that anyone should do these things to their handmade cards) and they remain intact! And what a blessing that it’s UV resistant as well!

This extra step is easy, but time consuming – partly in the application, but mostly in waiting for the cards to be completely dry before I can place them in cellophane wrappers or boxes. Because of the extra time needed, I will now be offering four cards in my boxes of pressed flower cards, instead of five…but I think the change will be worth it. My customers will be getting a much more reliable and higher quality product. Isn’t amazing that God cares about the little dilemmas in our lives, as well as the really important ones? I’m thankful.

Learn more about Perfect Paper Adhesive here.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Turning over a new leaf...

I make pressed flower cards.
I’ve been selling them for about five years now, first to friends and relatives, then at a local farmer’s market, and a few small craft fairs.

Today I sell most of them via Elizabeth's Flowers, to stores, galleries and individuals throughout the U.S., and a number of them even find their way to other parts of the world.

I have always taken pride in the fact that because I use heavyweight card stock, and mount the pressed flowers on my sturdy handmade paper, they are tough little cards and can make their way through the mail with out a problem. I was glad, because I don’t like the look of contact paper over the delicate flowers, I didn’t want to use messy Modge Podge, and I wasn’t about to laminate all my cards as some people do.

But… every once in awhile it came to my attention that one of my cards didn’t make it. Someone opened up a card, and a little cloud of pressed flower confetti fell into their lap. I must be a fluke, I told myself, for awhile.

Finally I came to the point of deciding not to make pressed flower cards anymore. I couldn’t guarantee that each one would reach their destinations intact, and I didn’t know how to remedy the situation in a way that wouldn’t detract from the beauty of the flowers. I said a quick prayer about this, not really expecting the God of the universe to care much about my card making dilemma, but wouldn’t you know it, I had my answer with in 24 hours.

To be continued…


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!"

That’s from 1 Chronicles 16:31, and isn’t that appropriate for this time of year?

I cringed when I saw the date of my last blog entry…I haven’t been meeting my goal of blogging 3x/week lately, have I?

Well, I’ve been busy enjoying this glorious season…not doing anything too important, but mainly just being outside during every spare moment in the midst of this fleeting season. I have been pressing last minute flowers and even long blades of grass so that I have plenty of slender “stems” to use for my pressed flower art during the winter. And, of course, I’ve begun my search for the brightest and best autumn leaves to press, along with my kids. Our search gets quite competitive, but it yields some of the most incredible leaves.

Speaking of being competitive, I finally posted my first blog “Give Away” after some prodding from a few friends, and then I forgot to announce the winners! Remember my ornamental pepper seed give away a week or so ago? Well, I feel bad about not following through on that, so I declare everyone a winner! Anyone who e-mails me their address by October 26th will get a few seeds from my stunning orange and purple pepper plant. Just go to the contact page of either one of my websites to find my e-mail address.

I will be putting the “rejoice” picture up on my etsy soon. Enjoy autumn!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Selling our art

I regularly read artist Luann Udell’s blog – it’s witty, sometimes a bit sarcastic, but more often than not, very, very practical for those of us trying to be artists.

Lately she’s been blogging about creating good booth displays (and how to avoid bad booth displays) for the upper end art shows she tends to do. It’s been interesting, but a bit out of my league. However, yesterday she blogged about a recent visit to a small local craft fair (the kind I tend to do) and her observations in regards to how the booths were set up, how items were displayed, and how people acted in their booths.

She holds the stick pretty high since she is primarily familiar with "cream of the crop" expensive shows, but she points out many correctable omissions that I know I’m guilty of in my usual booth set up. Take signs for example. I usually print out a few price signs in a rush as I’m packing for a show, but rarely go beyond that. But why not go beyond that, and actually highlight your creation’s uniqueness, its usefulness… give your customer a reason to take a closer look at it. According to Luann, our signage needs to quickly tell “our story” for our customers. I know mine doesn’t.

She also briefly covers lighting, and display set up, but I especially loved her advice on how to talk to customers. Most customers go to a show prepared to buy something, but they need a bit of encouragement to buy… permission to buy, in a sense. We need to be able to talk about our creations intelligently – not in a pushy way, but in a way that conveys our love for our art, and allows them to love it too. I know this is easier said than done, but its definitely food for thought.

I know several of you are beginning to sell your work as well. Go check out Luann’s article, and hopefully we can all improve our booths and selling techniques this year.