giovedì, marzo 30, 2006

I'm not MAD! Really...

Now Agatha here, she's pizzed. Me? My week has been pretty low key. If anything I have been feeling a little under the weather and, downish... but not mad!

Last weekend away with the DH was SO nice. We really had a good time and snuck in a visit to the San Jose Museum ofArt as well - so that was very cool.

I am in the midst of Zine production and shipping again, so that is keeping me busy - though I've also managed to list a couple of pieces of art this week.

I saw the doctor today because I have this pesky scar / spot on my chest, where I had a tumor removed last year. The tumor ended up being benign (phew!) but the removal was still annoying.

My doctor says all looks good - and honestly, I thought he was going to say that the tumor had returned and that I was going to have to have it removed again. I was having some pre-doctor anxiety last night - but everything went well.

I think I am a little down though because I've been thinking of my wonderful artist friend Cinda a lot lately. I know her Dad has been very ill - and I am used to hearing from Cinda and getting a wonderful dose of her cheery and wonderful self, far more often than has been the case lately. Alas, she lives in in the Southern part of this country - and here I am in the west. I love the capacity for making friends that the internet provides, but there are certainly times when I wish we were all a bit (geographically) closer. Wherever you are tonight Miss Cinda, I am thinking of you with love!

Aggie up there though - the first ATC I have made in a looooong time - is just pizzed off. Why? It certainly isn't because of the cute blue lucite vintage/retro clothes pin that serves as her body and head. (I have these listed in The ZNE Store, by the way!) Nope, the thing is, Agatha has been called one too many names in her day, she says! And let me tell you, she's through with it! As the listing says:

Agatha Hates "Labels!"

Fat, Skinny, Dumb, Smartass, Happy, Hussy, Frigid, Fussy, Right, Wrong, Liar, Cheat, Scam, Spam, SHAZAM!

Give the girl a break.

And whatever you do, don't you dare call her a "DOLL!"

Well, you know how it goes. We all have those days...

Hope YOUR day, and night, is wonderful!

xo - Chel

giovedì, marzo 23, 2006

March Madness!

For one human being to love another that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof; the work for which all other work is but preparation.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Today is my wedding aniversary! My DH has been an absolute doll this week. He suprised me with a "weekend away" - woo-hoo! We are going to stay at a luxury hotel tomorrow night, and on Saturday we are going to spend the day at a British Motorcycle Show. (Well, he gets to do something fun too, afterall!) Here's the show we are going to:

How cool is that? I had to put that Rilke quote up there though, because I think it is just SO true. And something to be remembered. Nothing about marriage, or loving someone else unconditionally comes easy. I am very blessed to have the support of so many friends and family, and my wonderful online friends - who are there for me and listen, or provide encouraging words - when the going gets tough. Of course - at the core of it all, is my wonderful husband, and our incredible children. A family. No matter how challenging, irritating, annoying, or stressful a marriage can be, I always come back to the same conviction, and it carries me through an awful lot. Family. Who could ask for anything more?

The altered journal I posted up there is up for bid on eBay right now. The collage piece in the middle is a print created from an ATC by the incredible Becky Christian. Speaking of friends I am blessed to have! Becky is a stunning artist and her whimsical and colorful creations are absolutely fabulous - but she is also someone I consider a dear friend. She always has sweet and encouraging words. She is utterly human and a complete angel at the same time. Love you Becky!

I embellished the journal, so in a way - it is a collaborative piece. Actually, I had so much fun working with Becky's collage images - I created 11 (!) of these journals and 6 greeting cards, all in one night. I just couldn't stop! Some are listed and some will be listed in the near future. Stay tuned to The ZNE Store listings for more!

Richard and I were married in Kailua Kona, on The Big Island. So today, I leave you with this:

He kehau ho`oma`ema`e ke aloha.

(Love is like a cleansing dew.)

May you all wrap yourself in a blanket of love today, and feel it's beauty and cleansing power.
xoxo - Chel

martedì, marzo 21, 2006

The Numbers Game!

Oooh! It is Art Squared theme week, and the theme is NUMBERS. So, I pulled out the vintage bingo cards again. They are so fun to use as a background. And, I took a drive to the local antique store and found this fun kewpie doll collage sheet. I had to have it. I love kewpie dolls. They are SO cute. And so mischevious looking too. Kind of like my kids. And my dog. And my hubby... hmmm....?

Art squared is a size limited art piece. It is (generally) a flat piece, and the base is (generally) an exact square in size. The group started with a 4"x4" requirement - as this is also the size of most "chunky" or "fat books," and they make trading card sleeves for this size, too. However - the specification for eBay purposes has expanded to include any squared piece of art up to 14" on all sides. Gary is just over 5" square. The bingo card is not an exact square, so I added the yellow ribbon embellishment on each side to compensate.

Art Squared is a public group on eBay and separate from ZNE. The group has 400 members right now. Several months ago, when the call went out for moderation help in the group, I was happy to step up. My main contribution to the group is to coordinate the theme weeks. Which really just consists of sending out a bunch of emails and posting reminders. It is nice to have an excuse to force myself to create art once a month though! I am so glad that the fabulous Emma Fashokun coordinates the ZNE theme week each month. She does such a good job, I was inpired to be brave and take on the job for Art Squared. So, Emma's good deed for ZNE is reverberating!

Speaking of Emma, she is also a moderator for ZNE. I am SO lucky to be blessed with such incredible artist/friend/mods for ZNE. And Emma is no exception. She just recently debuted her own website ~ check it out!

Isn't that awesome!

Well, before I log off, I'll throw out another ZNE Store Fun Find~!

At that same antique store where I found the Kewpie Doll Collage sheet, I also found these fabulous teensy tiny vintage brass floral buttons. I think these are just ADORABLE! They have a tiny loop finding in the back.

I am offering them up in singles at a great starting bid. And remember, if you purchase one and mention ZNE FUN FIND in your request for an invoice, I'll take 10% off your entire combined order! Or, just the button, if that is all you want...

Have a great week everyone!

xo - Chel

venerdì, marzo 17, 2006

Are You Wearing Green?!

The Fuzzy Bough Beetle Fruit Trees!

This is one of 39 (!) 4"x4" pages I made for the Altered Art Obsession Tree of Life chunky book. I sent them off in the mail to the swap host, my dear friend and sister in spirit, Julie O'Neil (she's the ZNE Technical Director as well!) a day late, as usual for me... Actually, I only sent her 37, so I am listing two of them under my Chel*Art*Originals id on eBay. This one, which has a cream colored background, and this one, which is moss green:

Happy Saint Patty's Day and TGIF!

Oooh! Check out my wonderful friend Kris's MySpace site. She just started it a few days ago. Isn't that cool? Kris Hubick is a moderator for the ZNE Fondante group, and she is another one of my sisters in spirit. She's a gem! (Aren't I lucky to have such a fabulous extended family!)

Oh, and I should definitely mention that Claudine Hellmuth's live chat at ZNE was just wonderful! She is so very gracious and friendly, and was game for answering all of our questions. We found out some very important artsy fartsy stuff, for example, she is both a dog and cat person ~ ! ~ and we even got to see pictures of her art studio, up close and personal. This was my favorite quote of hers, from the chat:!

"My Art Studio Has No Doors..."

So, spend some time this weekend opening your heart and your creativity. Remember that no matter where you are - an art studio is bound to be at hand - so, here's to hoping that your art studio has no doors, either!!

xo - Chel

mercoledì, marzo 15, 2006

Oooh! We get to talk to Claudine tonight!

I am so excited. We are kicking off the ZNE Live Chat series tonight. In 4 1/2 hours (not that I am counting. Tee-Hee!) we'll have a Members Only Live Chat with Claudine Hellmuth. It should be really fun.

I am nervous too. This will be the first time we've done this. What if we have a system crash, or everyone talks at once and nothing makes sense? Or... oh you know, all the rest of those site-mom worries.

But the worries don't outweigh the excitement! Claudine is such a talented artist! And she has experience in licensing, publication, teaching, many different techniques, marketing, and being successful in the mixed media art business. I am sure she will have lots of fun and valuable things to share with our members.

Ah well. Busy day then! I'll have to check in again in the next few days and let you know how it went! : )

xo - Chel

venerdì, marzo 10, 2006

A New Fun Find!

Not much going on today. I am still playing catch up with shipments and YIKES house and office cleaning.

On March 16, I am going to start a ten day spree of listing at least 30 new items a day in The ZNE Store, so I am allowing myself a break from listing until then. I only have a few new things up. Though - the new Altered Arts Magazine is there. So, if you are looking for it - take a peek!

I like this piece of art here. I had it made into into a tile, and keep it on my desk - while the original hangs on my studio wall behind me. That was the first Cercles D'Ame piece I created. That project is on hold right now because we are having trouble getting contributors (not all, just some) to follow through with moving art on, and it gets pretty frustrating when your art is in "limbo." However, this piece was worked on and completed by myself, Julie O'Neil, Kathy Selvaggio, and Shin Young. What I like best about it is that the fairy looks so relaxed, like she is floating on a pool float, except, mid air. Ah, a mid air pool float... if I could climb aboard - I certainly would!

Oh! And I have a new ZNE Fun Find for you today!

Check out this cool vintage Mexican Milagro. I have tons of them in The ZNE Store. I have men, women, cows, even a set of eyes. I had a pair of legs but they've been picked up already!

Milagro is the Spanish word for "Miracle." These little metal charms are used in Latin American countries as "offerings" to the Saints in church, to request special favors. They are really neat and very unusual, and could be used for a variety of art projects. And, though not quite a miracle, if you buy one from The ZNE Store and mention ZNE FUN FIND in your request for an invoice following purchase/s - you will receive 10% off your entire order!

Hope you all are having a wonderful day, and that you all are Enjoying Creating!

xoxo - Chel

mercoledì, marzo 08, 2006

Gone to the Dogs...!

Oh, I do love puppies! SO so much. I've often said that i believe that dogs are just fuzzy little bundles of love. Anyone who has owned and loved a dog knows what I mean. Such forgiving, incredibly loyal and loving creatures. Their warm bodies and doggie breath. Not too mention kisses galore. Dogs are just the best!

Funny, I had to search for a piece of art I created that had a dog in it. Perhaps if they wore corsets or dressed like pin up girls, I'd have a few more!

This ATC, I created over a year ago. "Tea for Two" I called it. I did a big series of ATCs, where I started out by using different colors of acrylic paint to paint the playing card background. If you check out my entry on February 21, you can see another one of these. I love the way the card number and suit sort of peeks through from behind... I think that effect is cool.

ANYWAY, this week has just been tiring and sort of tough.

For one thing, I keep misplacing things. Where's my tape gun? Where's the ruler? AND, worse yet, I am misplacing product. SOLD product. Yikes! The ZNE Store deals in volume purchases of teeny tiny things, and I have a pretty good system down for organizing things. All the charms and jewelry are in one big box, seperated in bags by "sort" - shoes, letters, hearts and stars, animals... etc. And the vintage labels are in another box, seperated by label type. Soda, liquor, food, perfume, cigar, etc.. etc... and then I have great big boxes of toys, etc. Still, somehow - a label has been misplaced here, a charm there. And of course, I only notice when I am trying to fill an order. Yikes.

Next, the post office has been driving me crazy. I love my postman, and goodness knows he deals with a lot, schlepping boxes and envelopes up to my front door in the rain, every day, only to receive more than a handful back in return. But I keep getting packages BACK in the mail! This one had a stamp "taped over" - that one had a digit transposed on the zip code. WHY it takes the post office three weeks to figure out they aren't going to deliver something, is beyond me.

As if that weren't enough, today I got my first really negative response to the Zine. The buyer said: "I'm shocked! I expected so much more. I really feel ripped off." - among other things. Picture big pouty face, here. All of the feedback on the 60+ copies I have sent out has been positive so far. So, you know - this is one person. And, of course, I know, I can't expect everyone to like it. The thing is, in creating this Zine, I was down on my hands and knees gluing things and tying things and I coil bound each one by hand... and... well it is sort of like working hard to throw a party and having one of the attendees say: "Your party s*cks." Waaaaah!

Ah well, I issued her a full refund, plus additional money for postage, to please return the Zine to me. Now, I just need to take my own advice:

(That says: "GET OVER IT!")

Alright then. Picking up this pouty lip, and moving on.

Back to the important things in life ~ Doggies!!! A few days ago while perusing my wonderful friend Bella's blog ~ I noticed that she posted about the efforts of a fellow artist, who has made it a life mission to protect and save doggies who would otherwise be euthanized at shelters.

Bernie Berlin creates art that is truly drool worthy - or - in dog talk - worth a great big lick, I tell ya! Her stuff is just amazing.

But even more amazing, her efforts to create an animal rescue sanctuary are astounding. A Place to Bark promises to be (and already is) a loving, safe, haven for unwanted and abandoned doggies who are truly in need.

In honor of my own Butter Butt, ZNE made a $20.00 donation to help her in her efforts. It is not much, but having worked for non-profits all my life, I know - every little bit helps. If you can find it in your heart to help out somehow - I know that Bernie and all those incredible doggies will thank you for it.

So, sigh. It is good again, to remember the important things in life - eh! And along those lines, I'll end on this note:

xoxo - Chel

lunedì, marzo 06, 2006

How Do YOU Do It?

Ha! I created that piece of art months ago. That's just a detail of the larger piece. That girl is PASSED out, I tell ya! She is dying of exhaustion! She'll lay her head anywhere - and a copper acrylic painted piece of canvas panel was the perfect resting place for Terri the Nearsighted Fairy!

I certainly have days like that. ("Mama said...") My wonderful artist friend *Chrysti* sent me an email a few days ago, and among other things, she asked me this question: "how do ya do it?" - and she was referring to - you know - the whole shebang. Art making, The ZNE Store listing, ZNE Zine production, ZNE Group moderation, etc. etc. Funny, she should ask me this question! I often think the exact same thing about my wonderful art friends. Why Chrysti herself keeps up a fabulous store full of altered art goodies ~ Covet Me ~ (what a great name!), she is in the process of creating a fabulous website ~ The Altered Abbey ~ and her art is incredible. Here is one of hers that I have in my personal collection. I LOVE THIS PIECE!

And then there is Lani Kent, eBay's healingexpressions- who says: "I made a few new pieces today." And then she has like 10, 20, 30 pieces to share! And they are ALL gorgeous! All of us in ZNE have been chiding her about this. How DOES she do it? I mean, every single day, she has bunches and bunches of incredible new stuff. Me? Most days, I am lucky if I can rubber stamp a decoration onto an envelope of goodies being sent out from The ZNE Store!

But, then again, I do have a lot on my plate, and I do manage to get a lot done. So, how do I do it? Well, a lot of the time I don't do it. Whatever "it" is. I don't hug my kids as often as I could, and should. I don't spend as much time on my art as I want to. I don't spend as much time chatting online or getting to know our incredible (at last count) 450-ish ZNE members. Lord knows I don't keep my studio clean, and the dog will tell you his one or two milkbones a day certainly aren't enough! I can not possibly reply to all my emails, and I can't follow up on all my supercalifragilistic ideas.

BUT... I am pursuing a dream. And THAT is all that really counts - yes? I am creating some art. I do have a group of... 450-ish incredible amazing talented artists in this group~miracle~thing in my life called ZNE. I have made some fabulous friends along the way, and I do feel BLESSED.

What I DO "do," is I try to remember, every day, how blessed I am. I try my best, when I do reply to emails, to stop for a moment and give my reply some thought. When I am checking member listings for a new round of ZNE Needle in a Haystack - I try to stop and appreciate all of the incredible art and art supplies being offered up by our members. When people send me notes or emails, or call me on the phone to say Hi, or Hello, or "I noticed something..." I try to take a minute, and take IN what they are saying. And these are the things that in the end, give me inspiration, keep me going, and truly are the reasons that anything at all - in this hectic place I call ZNE Central - gets done! Perhaps William Blake said it best:

"To see a world in a grain of sand And Heaven in a Wild Flower, Is to hold Infinity in the palm of your hand and Eternity in an hour."

Time IS, after all, what we make of it.

SO, that tells you a little bit about how I do what I do. What about why? Aside from all the incredible art and all the wonderful artists and friends that I get to oogle, oggle, and play with every day ~ my dedication to ZNE also revolves around my love for my family!

RJ and Abs!
Would these two faces not inspire you to pursue joy? What better example could I provide?

And then there is my beloved. He doesn't normally wear that bandana on his head, but we were about to go off on a motorcycle ride, and that is his "helmut hair" preventative. Ha!

My husband is cranky and snarky and a big grump - but, truth be told, I've always had a thing for grumpy men.

Turns out he must have have thing for artsy opinionated emotional silly women who suffer (or rejoice in) packratism.

Voila. We are perfect for eachother!

So, I am off then, to hug my kids, kiss my DH, and give the dog a milkbone. I try to focus on what's important in life, and I am eternally grateful for all my friends and loved ones, artists and not, who remind me of what those important things are.

xxoo - Chel

domenica, marzo 05, 2006

Crowning Glory!

Today is the first Sunday of the month, so that means it is ZNE Theme Week! Last month the incredible Izabella won, so she got to pick this month's theme, and she came up with a doozer!


Last night the kids and I bunked out in the living room, until the wee hours (actually, Richard was there too, but he was asleep. Tee-Hee!) watching the Bethovan movies on t.v., and creating art! We do this every now and again. My niece Izabelle has joined us in creating theme week art, in the past, too. Those artists out there who have kids, know how absolutely wonderful it is to sit down and create art together. It is almost as good as snuggling! (Almost...)

I got this incredible lot of used bingo cards, thanks to fabulous scouting work of my friend sandee. So, I created Sabine, the Imperfect Queen with one of these bingo cards as a background. Sabine is an online group leader, and just recently she said some things she didn't mean to say, and now she regrets it. Worse yet, no one will let up on her. It's as if people have forgotten that she's human. So many people have forgotten, in fact - if you look closely you can see that she actually turned into a vintage manequin!

And here's the piece that Abigail made: She was clipping and cuttin' from magazines and had a lot of fun with the glitter glue and rhinestones. I have these tiny acrylic tear drop shaped rhinestones, and I love them. More recently - I bought a batch of absolutely gorgeous tear drop shaped vintage glass rhinestones. Those will go in The ZNE Store soon - so keep your eyes posted.

And, RJ created this guy on the left - M.C. Crown Rapper! How cool is he? He even has yellow butterfly fiver embellishing his crown!

The thing that I like about RJ's piece is the little water stain that appeared just below this guy's left eye. As you can see, RJ used his teardrop shapped rhinestones as crown embellishments, but still, a little tear appeared.

Hmmm... we all had a great time creating these. I don't know why they are all crying! Hard life, being altered and such... Ha!

The kids and I ended up pulling our comforters out and falling asleep in the living room, among all the scrips and scraps - we had a collage making slumber party! Sure, we woke up with glitter and glue in our hair, but in our family - truth be told - that's a badge of honor. If I do say so myself!

Hope you all have glitter and glue in your hair, if not today, sometime soon.

Stop by and check out all the incredible ZNE Theme Week listings by clicking here!

xoxo - Chel