Creativity, Organization, & Lesley Riley

The bead shower (mentioned below) prompted me to get relax and catch up on some blogs. A brief exchange with the amazing Lesley Riley had me visiting her website - a site I hadn't fully soaked in before.

Lesley's creative space/studio has given me such a boost. Frequent readers of my ramblings will already know I finally settled on taking over the living room to carve out my studio. I decided on the living room mostly out of necessity...but due to the move, it's a mess. More of a mess than I would like. (At least it isn't as bad as it was in the infamous blog post I did a few weeks ago!) I will admit (only to you, my dear loyal subjects) that I really need a medium-sized warehouse in order to be fully organized and have room to work.

Instead, I live and create much like everyone else - crammed into every nook and cranny possible. However, much like Lesley, my favorite place to create is on my bed. I don't know if it's the yellow and periwinkle walls I painted, before carefully stenciling morning glories around all the walls...or the randomly placed bees, dragonflies, butterflies, lady bugs, etc I painted and stenciled all around. It's bright and I'm just comfortable in there. Even though I've tried to "force" myself to work downstairs by moving my desk down there...I still carry stuff up to my room when I'm serious about working on things.

Back to my point...I see all these studios/creative spaces in magazines that only serve to depress me. Am I the only person in the world who lives amongst disorganization and kids? How do people find time to create when they are constantly putting things away in perfectly lined up spaces? (And how do they remember where everything is?) But seeing that someone as phenomenal as Lesley Riley creates similarly to me, had a great effect on my attitude.

I thought I was all alone in my creative chaos. That everyone else created in quaint rooms with organizational equipment costing thousands. Then I thought maybe my disarray is due to me undertaking too many realms of art...fabric, jewelry, paper, soldering, book making, etc. But why limit myself just so I can be "organized"?? Yes, I get frustrated when I spend part of my limited creative time looking for supplies...but if that's the price I have to pay in order to play in multiple creative realms, then ok. I'll be ok with that.
Here are some articles about studio organization if you're interested. I've decided that until I have a professional come in and put things in a pleasing arrangement - that I can actually keep up on my own - I'm going to be ok with a little funky mess. If you aren't, try these articles for tips.

eHow on organizing art supplies
eHow article on studio organization
A neat blog, Collage Contessa, with some tips
Ideas from Noadi's Art Studio (cool polymer clay artist) - always some helpful info on different topics
Quilting Arts ideas - I want Beryl Taylor's studio...or Misty Mawn's...or Virginia Spiegel's...or... :)
And one more
(You can easily find tips by Googling "organized studios" or similar phrases)

Bead Showers & Kittens

I just finished picking up about 10,000 beads. Of all shapes, colors and sizes.

In a rushed attempt to find a bag to wrap a birthday present in - and not wanting Mom's help - the Princess & the Oldest collaborated with each other to get the bag themselves. In the office. Behind one of the office double doors. In a closet. Behind the shutter-type door. On the shelf. At the very tip top. In the way back. And did I mention they didn't bother to move the tower of plastic cases containing about 10,000 beads of all shapes, colors and sizes?

They experienced a true bead shower. Of about 10,000 beads. Of all shapes, colors and sizes. They reached the bag and were able to wrap the present...and left Mom - the QUEEN, remember - a gift in the process. The remains of their bead shower. All over the office floor. Into the dining room. In every open RubberMaid container within a ten foot radius. Under the dining room table. And if you recall, we still have three kittens. And two adult cats. Who love bead showers. And the resulting bead mecca left by the bead shower.

I think I got most of the beads. At least the ones the cats have not carried off to their secret hiding places. The places the cats only access in the middle of the night - so they can bat things around on the floor, attacking each other to see what could possibly be so exciting. And make more noise than the city ordinance allows. Of course, they only do this at night. This is how they are during the day.

Or this.
But as soon as the lights go out, everyone climbs into bed, and quiet sets in, the precious kitties pictured above instantly turn into something more like this.
Multiplied by three.

That is why I just finished picking up about 10,000 beads. Of all shapes, colors and sizes.

Cool Cards, Minimal Price

So I've known about this company, Vista Print, for quite some time. I was aware they supposedly did "free" products...but you know what they say. Nothing is free. In this case, that is true. Although Vista advertises t-shirts, calendars, checks, and business cards as being "free", they aren't. Totally. But the cost is so minimal, it's almost like the items are FREE!

I already received the coolest t-shirt - and I had designed it with their options. I chose this design as the base, then had "The Queen" written in large letters. Below that, in smaller letters, I had my blog address printed. I left the back plain. I was really surprised when it arrived - for the cost of shipping (less than $6.00) I got a really cute shirt I (pretty much) designed myself. How cool is that?!
And for even less than the cost of the t-shirt (around $3.50), I got the very cool - no, very royal - business cards pictured at the top of this post. I chose their art work, plopped in my details, and BOOM! Cool business cards arrive in less than a week. WOOT!

They offer many other products as well - a good portion are "free" - you just pay shipping. Not only can you personalize everything, they offer a wide variety of designs to choose from. If you don't care for their designs, you can upload your own image or art work for a small fee.

Totally customizable products at next to nothing. Does it get much better??

** NOTE: I am merely including this picture as a reference to the t-shirt. Neither one of us were prepared to have pictures taken that day...just in case you couldn't tell...bahaha**

The BEST Recipe...EVER

I know I throw around words like "the best" quite a lot - but that is only because I feel they are "the best" when I say it. Since I fully believe in living in the moment, you have to make a decision...are things going to be "the best" - or "the worst"? It's much more fun to have a longer list of "bests" than "worsts". Besides, if you're truly living in the moment then you don't have much to compare most things to - so they really ARE the best.

I lovingly call my mom Martha Stupid. Not because there is anything wrong with my mom - or, necessarily, with Martha Stewart. Believe it or not, calling my mom Martha Stupid is a compliment. To both women. It's just that in answering the questions of which woman is truly the Damsel of Decoratoring, the Official Empress of Ornamentation, or the Prime Purveyor at Parties, my mom would win. Without question...or mussed make up. And she'd make it all look easy. Which explains why my mom only has perfect parties - and why I came to call her Martha Stupid.

Several years ago, she began making and serving the most delicious "salad". It was unlike anything else I'd ever tasted - the most delectable thing to ever cross my lips. I was smitten with this new dish from the first bite! It was the one thing I would request at every holiday meal, even taking it upon myself to make it in between holidays...and I don't cook. I can cook - I just hate it. Which is why, many years ago, a friend of mine gave me a metal chicken sign that says:

Isn't that a great sign? I so love it when my friends know and get me so well!

Back to the incredible recipe I'm sharing for today. The first few times she made this, she served it as a salad...but apparently it's a dessert. I'm voting to keep it on the salad plate, tho - if for no other reason that I am always too stuffed to eat actual dessert after a holiday meal. And there is no way a sane (or even not-so-sane) person could pass this up!

Serves 12

1 C. Flour
1/2 C. Butter or Margarine
1/4 C. Brown Sugar
1/2 C. Chopped Nuts
2 Egg Whites
1 C. Sugar
10 oz. pkg. Frozen Strawberries or Raspberries
1 C. Cream, Whipped or 1 pkg. Dream Whip prepared (2 C.)
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Combine flour, sugar, margarine and nuts; place on cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes, stiring occasionally. Place crumbs in bottom of 9 x 13 pan, reserving some for top.

Beat egg whites until stiff, add sugar gradually and beat again. Add berries, beat well. Fold in whip cream, add lemon juice. Pour mixture over crumbs, top with reserved crumbs.

Freeze 6 hours or longer.

See how easy that is?? And I swear, I wouldn't tell you it was the most awesome food in all the kingdom if it wasn't. You will not regret trying this...but I take no responsibility if it's the only thing you want to eat from now until July 4th! (Speaking of which, this would be a fantastic thing to serve in the summer since it's nice and cold.)

Thanks for sharing it, Martha...and I'll try to remember to share her amazing Sweet Potato Oranges before Christmas as well. Let me just say that even people who claim to "loathe" sweet potatoes love this recipe.

BTW: I don't know where Pink Delight originated from - and my mom can't remember either. If you have questions, post a comment and I'll get back to you. Otherwise, E~N~J~O~Y!!

Beep! Beep! Beeeeppp! BEEP!

YUM! A book delicious enough to fill your soul's appetite for beauty!

Nope, I'm not trying to be obnoxious - the "beeps" at the beginning of this post signal something terrific for you - another fantabulous giveaway! Yippee!

Now, now...get off your knees. I know you are faithful loyal subjects - which is why I work so hard to maintain my title of Queen. (Trust me, it isn't easy to look this good. ha) As soon as the applause dies down just a bit, I'll continue with the details...

The giveaway listed today comes from Susan Tuttle. She is actually giving away not one, but TWO glorious copies of her new book, Exhibition 36: Mixed Media Demonstrations & Explorations. Go 'head, click on the link. Poof! You'll be magically transported to the book's page on Amazon. Cool, huh?

Some may say I'm just posting this giveaway in order to provide a chance for my incredible readers to win something. True...but it's also much more than that! This book is so amazingly fantastic that you've got to get a copy. Soon. So if you can't win a copy from Susan Tuttle, Ms Author Extraordinare herself, then rush to Amazon and buy one...or two. You can knock out Christmas shopping for your creative friends (and not even have to leave the house!) - and become their hero in the process. (Trust me - they will think of you as their hero if you give them this book!) How easy is that?!

If you want to really treat yourself, stop by Susan's blog as well. It's just beautiful!

As if I wasn't completing my regal duties by providing you with this book recommendation, and giving you a chance to win it...I know of a way you can increase your chances of winning!

Remember that super fantastic giveaway over at Chrysti's blog? Well, Chrysti's prize for day three is a copy of Exhibition 36. Go check out her post - which has a nifty little synopsis of the book AND an interview with Susan - then follow the instructions to enter to win. There are TWO easy ways to win this delectable book!

And as a reminder, have you been keeping up with Tim's 12 Tags of Christmas? Ohhh the tags he's made are simply sublime - and the giveaways he's offering fall nothing short of spectacular! What are you waiting for??

So with my duties fulfilled for now, I am straightening my crown and going to work on something creative. Life is good!
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