Brriinng! It's Hallmark on the Phone

Awhile ago, Hallmark cards held a contest requesting people send in a picture and a funny phrase to go along with the picture. The card had to be pertinent to "Happy Birthday" - but that was pretty much the only rule. So I sent in this:
I totally forget what I ended up writing on the inside - I changed it several times before finally submitting it. I went on doing what I needed to do, pushing the contest out of my mind.

I was shocked - stunned, I tell ya - when the phone rang and it was Hallmark. Seems my card made won! Can you believe that?! I think the two women who called to notify me thought I had lost my mind. I was more than a little convinced I was being "Punk'd".

I have signed the releases and sent off the legal forms. What does this mean? Well, I won a cash prize of $250...and the card will be printed and placed in Hallmark stores across the country. It should even be available online! I'm so excited!

Right now they are calling the winners of this round "finalists". I feel like I've already won - but there is more. If my card is the best seller this summer, I will win $2,500 and it will become a permanent card in their humor collection. Now, I ask cool is that?!

So, my dear and loyal readers, I have an official assignment for you in the coming months. I need for you all to buy this card - whether you do it online or in a Hallmark store. Stock up on them. Have your friends and family buy them. Hold contests for them. Just get your hands on them any way you can! Since I haven't had a car for awhile now - and it is more than a serious hindrance for a single mom to be on foot! - $2,500 could go, very, very, very purchasing a royal carriage. Besides, it would be awesome to have this card as part of Hallmark's permanent humor collection!

I will update when Hallmark gets a little further into this - right now I think the cards will be available online in March and arriving in stores June 22. I'm still shocked and waiting for Ashton to jump out from behind a stack of craft supplies! If he doesn't, and this is for real, keep an eye out for these. I will definitely run a HUGE giveaway to coincide with this event. I don't know what it will be yet - but I promise it will be big. xo

$50 Gift Certificate Winner

I love announcing winners of contests - and I'm especially excited about announcing the winner of this contest. If you recall, was kind enough to give one of my rockin' readers a FIFTY dollar gift certificate. How cool and generous is that??
The winner is... #13
Staci, I sent you an email notifying you of winning. Hurry and get back to me so we can get you the gift certificate. I have no doubt whatsoever you will be thrilled with whatever you pick out - they do incredible work. Absolutely the best! And for everyone else, continues to offer my readers a 15% discount, just type in the code queen15 to take advantage of the savings. This was a fun contest, although I wish more of you guys would have entered. You don't know what you're missing out on - but Staci will soon be able to tell you! Enjoy, Staci - and congratulations! xo

The Kindness of Others

I have heard people talking about creating with napkins for several years. I've looked at all the local stores for decorative napkins I could use to make some delicious art with. I was surprised that I couldn't find any - well, I couldn't find any that didn't say "Happy Birthday" or "25th Anniversary". Bummed, I had all but given up on creating with napkins.

A couple of weeks ago, while jumping from one artist's site to another, I came across a beautiful blog by Sharon Tomlinson,
All Norah'S Art. As soon as I saw the header I knew this was going to be a good blog. I just had no idea how good!

Sharon is an amazing artist. No, I don't mean she's good and you might enjoy her work. I mean she is SO good you need to go check out her site right this minute. I have no doubt you will "
oooh" and "aaah" your way through her blog, just like I did.

Her work is beautiful. Breathtaking. It has a wonderful surreal quality to it. The faces and people she draws have a quality about them I can't describe, I only know they draw you in...and won't let you go. Her pieces creep into your mind - without you realizing it -and take up residency. I get lost in her work, studying each line and making up pasts for her creations. Yes, Sharon Tomlinson is
that good. I know she has been published in at least Somerset Studio and Cloth Paper Scissors. I'm sure there are probably more, but I don't know about them. And I know she has a fantastic Etsy store, All Norah'S Art.

(I haven't posted pictures of her work because I haven't had a chance to ask her permission. If you haven't gone over there and checked out her work yet, go ahead. I'll wait. Seriously. Well, wait a minute. Once you go over there I have no doubt I'll lose maybe you should wait and finish the post,
then go over there. Yeah.)

I need to stop gushing and get on with the point.

So I'm literally gawking at all her wonderfulness, mesmerized by her talent, when something catches my eye.
She creates with napkins! Rather, I should say, she uses napkins in her paintings. Adorning many of her incredible paintings are napkin bits. It was like the heavens opened up and...ok, I'm being a little dramatic. It was like, on some cosmic level, I immediately connected with her. Her beautiful work stunned me - and I was floored to find she actually uses napkins. Napkins. Can you believe it?! I emailed her, asking where she would suggest I find napkins similar to what she uses. She mentioned Tuesday Morning - but the only one I know of around here is gone. And without knowing me, she offered to send me some. Wow! I hadn't contacted her so she could send me something, I swear. And holy crown - the napkins she sent are just lovely - a beautiful array of different napkins. Look!
She also sent along a sheet of music that looks like it came from a foreign hymnal. One of our trusty kittens, Noodles, is keeping watch.
(Can you believe how big the kitten is? She and her sister are bigger than Mom now...and are the only two we kept. So I currently have 4 of the 398 kittens I'll need in order to become the creepy, old, lonely cat lady who sits in her rocking chair and drools.)

I'm so inspired. Receiving such a wonderful package from Sharon really got me going. My mind immediately began spinning as soon as I pulled the napkins from the glassine envelope she had carefully enclosed them in. As I ran my fingers over each napkin, thoughts jumped out of my mind. (Good thing I put them back in - I can't afford to lose any thoughts!) I have so many ideas of things I can do with these...and I have Sharon to thank. Not only is she an amazing artist, she is incredibly kind to share her stash with a complete stranger.

Sharon Tomlinson is definitely someone to aspire to be like!

Grand Theft Art?

You come up with a fabulous technique. It's so great, you can't wait to tell everyone about it. You go around posting to all the Yahoo groups you belong to, happily sharing your technique and examples with everyone who will listen. You see a few people try it, email you with how great the technique is, thank you for being the master wizard of art, and your ego begins to grow so big you won't possibly fit through the door tomorrow.

You continue working with your newly "invented" technique. You even begin to create a class around teaching your new technique. You're kind of mad at yourself for posting it all over the place in your excitement...but those other artists are "friends", right? It's fine, you decide. Nothing will happen to your new technique - besides, everyone knows you created it.

Your new Cloth Paper Scissors arrives. Ahhh life is sweet! You happily begin flipping through it...when it happens. You come across a page where the work seems strangely familiar. Looking more closely you realize someone else has written an article about your technique - the one you created. The technique you were going to teach in a class. You continue reading in total disbelief. Surely the person will credit you - or at least mention you - right? Nope. The article concludes, examples extremely similar to what you first created with the technique are shown, and there is not one mention of you. How could this happen??

That is a question a lot of artists find themselves asking. As the Internet grows, and groups made up of people with common interests form, information is shared more freely. Blogs and websites are created so people can share their lives, interests, and passions. People who wouldn't normally find each other, due to location or a myriad of other reasons, have linked up and formed friendships and exchanged information. Does that mean sharing what you've learned from these groups or relationships, goes against the creative code of ethics and morals? Do you need to find out who created every single technique you use, and credit each of those people whenever you create something?

Most artists would say no. However, and this is an important however, there most definitely is a line. Finding out who created a common, well-known technique is ridiculous. No one expects that. Publishing an article that introduces a new technique is a totally different monster. Which is a problem for any artist who "invents" a new technique - and either freely shares it with those in art groups, or teaches classes about it. You see, artists can "invent" a hundred different brilliant, earth-shattering, life-changing techniques...and can't copyright one of them. You can protect a piece of art - but you cannot protect ideas. And that has a lot of artists fuming. Including me.

Without "outing" the person who submitted my idea to Cloth Paper Scissors, I will just say that another artist wrote an article several years ago, describing and identifying a technique I came up with. That may sound ridiculous to some of do you know she didn't just stumble across the same idea? Well, I know she didn't because we discussed my idea - and she came to me with questions about it. I helped guide her through it. Don't get me wrong - I was happy to do it. Until I saw the article. I felt betrayed - and totally infuriated. I realize I don't "own" the technique - but to not even mention me was like a slap in the face.

I stopped speaking to that artist immediately. Funny thing is, I never received another email from her, either. She knows exactly what she did. (Can you tell this still upsets me??)

I haven't brought this up until now because I still seethe every time I think about that whole situation. I decided to bring it up now after seeing another artist post a note in a message board about it. Apparently, she was confronted with the same issue upon opening a copy of Quilting Arts recently. Her anger was palpable as she "thanked" the person who had taken a class from her, learned a technique this artist only teaches in her class, and then wrote an article about said technique, passing it off as her own.

Some of you may be reading this saying to yourself, "Well, the author of this article paid to take a class from this artist, so the technique now belongs to her as well." I won't pretend to know what the legalities are of that situation...but I will say, from the viewpoint of another artist (me), what the article's author did is just plain WRONG. She would not have had that knowledge without taking the class - and the artist supports herself (in part) from teaching that technique to paying students. The author did not seek permission from the artist - nor did she mention where she learned the technique. To the reader it appeared the author came up with the technique. The artist is extremely angry - just think about the monies this artist lost out on due to widespread publication of her technique.

I'm all for the artistic community lending each other a hand, sharing ideas, and collaborating on projects. I'm also all for giving credit where credit is due. Why pass off something as yours when it isn't? Isn't that the same as stealing?

A lot of us make similar items. It's no secret how to use PMC, watercolors, or gel medium. But as a community, don't we owe it to each other to be respectful of anothers ideology?

I'm very curious to hear what my readers think of this issue. Is it morally or ethically wrong to pass off some one's technique as your own? Or is it too bad, so sad - ideas are not "property" and therefore cannot be attributed to a single person? Which side of this issue to do stand on?

Please comment and let me know. I can't wait to read your response!

Color Match from Your Photo

A cool little tip I ran across and wanted to share:

At you can type in the URL of any photo on the web - or upload your own picture - and their "Palette Generator" will create a color scheme to match the picture. Especially great if you hit a creative block.

So scan -or take a picture of - your art work and head over to this site. It wll give you color schemes you may not have thought of.

Gone are the days of asking, "What colors go with _______?".

They also have about a gazillion other radical things you can do with your digital photos. Scan their home page to see.

Cool, eh?

February Woot Loot Giveaway

A big thank you to everyone who has participated in Woot Loot to this point - your presence has made it more fun to keep this up!

Woot Loot is going to be a bit different this month. What could it possibly be??

How would you feel about
polymer clay embellishments?

Remember, click on the pictures to enlarge them.
This third Woot Loot contest includes an assortment of polymer clay flowers and leaves - in a variety of colors - handmade by me, the Queen.
~ Approximately 39 leaves in various shades of green. All different sizes and shapes.
~ Approximately 10 blue flowers in different shades, shapes and sizes
~ Approximately 12 flowers in yellows, oranges, and browns - various sizes & shapes.
~ Approximately 16 pink and brown flowers in a variety of shapes and sizes
~ Approximately 3 little clay swirls
~ Approximately 7 clay disks - 4 blue/white/purple dragonflies, 1 moon in purple/blue/yellow/white, 1 pink/gold/blue butterfly, 1 sun in blue/purple/yellow
Since these are all handmade, no two are the same. These cute little one-of-a-kinds can be glued onto greeting cards, added to collages, thrown into mixed media creations...whatever your mind can dream up! They are great little embellishments or accents for tons of things! The smalled is probably around 1/2" and the largest is just under 2". These are thin and delicate so caution should be used. I would classify them as fragile.

The winner of these flowers and leaves may find additional little polymer clay pieces added in - it all depends on what I work on this month. Either way, whether you're into scrapbooking, mixed media or altered art, doll making, greeting cards, collage, encaustics...these will make very cool additions to your next piece. No one else will have these little guys!

~ Leave a comment telling me what you will use them for.

~ Follow my blog.
~ Follow me on Twitter AND Tweet about this giveaway. Please include the link to your Tweet in your comment.
~ Favorite my blog on Technorati. (The link is in the sidebar.)
~ Go to and tell me the name of one of the categories.
~ Tell me one product, book, or artist you would like to see reviewed/interviewed in an upcoming Thursday Thoughts.
~ If you have a blog: Tell me who designed your header/banner/button/template and leave a way to contact them.
~ If you don't have a blog: Tell me something about yourself.
~ Add my blog to your blogroll.
~ Blog about this month's Woot Loot.

That is a possible 13 entries...HOLY ROYAL GEMS!
February's Woot Loot ends Sunday, February 22 at midnight (mountain time). Winner announced/notified Monday, February 23. PLEASE leave your email address so I can contact you if you win (if your comments don't link to your blog/website). Winner has 48 hours to claim their Loot or I move down the list to the next winner. Winner will be chosen by

Woot Loot is Coming!

Watch this space for the next Woot Loot announcement...Coming very soon!

While you wait, I want to tell you about Ning. If you aren't familiar with Ning, it's a social networking site. You can learn more about Ning in general, here.

I belong to Fiber Arts/Mixed Media andenjoy it. You must join and be accepted, but that isn't anymore difficult than joining a Yahoo group.

If fiber or mixed media art isn't your thing, there is most likely another group on Ning you'll find interesting. It's easy to search for the topics you're interested in - and if there isn't a group already, start your own.

And if you aren't interested in that, there is always Post Secret or The Smoking Gun to keep you entertained while you wait. What?! You don't want to check out those, either? Then how about heading over to 43 Things and seeing the goals people have. You can even see how many people share your goals.

If none of those things shine your crown, there is always one more site you can check out. But shhh! This hasn't been made public yet - so we need to keep it on the down low for now. (The problems of having a big mouth!) Quietly hop over to The Crafty Queen and let me know what you think of the place. It's very basic and there isn't anything of value up yet...but I would love to hear your opinions on the name and layout. (Yes, I know the design royally sucks - but I'm working on that.) Please leave me a comment if you do check it out. More information will follow shortly.

More Book Pages

According to Blogger, this is my 97th post...even though it said my post yesterday was number 98. Am I the only one who thinks the numbers are going the wrong way? I realize it can be impossible to count on your fingers that high...but I'm a little confused. Which actually isn't anything all that different from normal. I'm still thinking of what to do to celebrate - this caught me off guard. I will announce the plans in the next couple of days...along with announcing February's Woot Loot some time today. Time is running really short on the giveaway - so if you haven't entered, please do! You won't find a neater product - I think fiddling your photo is one of the coolest things online. Hurry - enter here. Here are a few more pages from the book I began to share a few days ago. I hope you enjoy them!
Click on the pictures to enlarge them
Outside (See the hinges?)
Inside spread - left side
Inside spread - right side
Lower right quadrant opens - this picture shows it closed
(the twist tie operates as the handle)
With lower "door" open
Inside, with the door open
(Name blocked to protect the innocent)
> I told you the books I made are big! <Ok...Enough for today. I don't want you feeling like this:
Or, like you feel when someone makes you watch their vacation slides.
I will show more in another post.
Comments are welcome - even encouraged! xo

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