Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Clean

When it comes to Spring the SAFEteam really knows how to get clean. For their Spring Challenge, members were asked to create a Spring inspired product and write a poem telling about their favorite thing about Spring.

I was inspired to create two soaps. The first was a Jelly bean soap with lots of vibrant colors and all the fruity fragrances of a bag of jelly beans (with the black ones included).

The second piece I created and the one I entered into the Challenge is Easter Egg Hunt. It is scented with Cotton Blossom-a fresh, crisp scnt that reminds me of clean clothes hanging in the warm Spring breeze. Five pastel layers, similar to the painted layers of the Easter eggs we color and hide every year.

The accompanying poem attempts to engender what Easter and Spring mean to me--beyond the bunnies, chocolates, jelly beans, and even the Easter eggs themselves.

The Hunt
Daffodils, crocus, and tulips,
New beauty all around.
Easter bonnets, cotton dresses,
Lace and ribbons do abound
Chocolate bunnies and colored eggs
Cast upon the moist Spring ground.

The hunt is on, but wait!
What’s this they’ve found?
A lamb so pure and white,
Never the likes seen on mortal ground.
Lived as man, once slain, now risen,
With promises of grace profound.

The yearly hunt is over now.
Baskets full and round,
Yet still within their hearts
Praises and hallelujahs resound.
Full of life and light and love,
Proclaiming blessings all around.

For a chance to win a bar of soap check out the team blog to vote on your favorite Spring soap.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Missouri Monday Featured Artist

Today I would like to introduce you to an artist that I met well over a year ago...maybe nearing two years. I've really lost track of time and I can't really say how we first met, but I do know that it was on Etsy somehow! I fell in love with her art immediately, it is so colorful and unique! But I've also come to know her as a friend and hope you find her as much fun as I do!

Laura, of Sleepless Imagination was kind enough to share a bit about her life as an artist and her Missouri experience.

How long have you lived in Missouri?

I moved here from Shawnee, Kansas on New Year’s Eve 1995. My Dad lives here and my boyfriend (now husband) and I loved it here.

What is something you love about living in Mid-MO?

There are lots of bike trails, parks and easy access to rural areas. It’s nice to be in a college town where there are a variety of fun and interesting things to do, without having to live in a big city. I think it’s a good place for us to raise our kids.

How did you get started in your craft/art?

I have always enjoyed doing art. I took art classes all through junior high and high school. It wasn’t until after my kids were born that I started doing as much art as I’m doing now. I think there were two main motivators: my kids wanted me to make things for them, which got the creative juices flowing again and I needed something that would keep me from going crazy while I was staying home with the kids. I needed to be doing something that was separate from my being a wife and mom.

What is your favorite tool to use?

I don’t really have just one favorite tool– I have many favorites. It’s difficult for me not to find other things I want to try. Right now, it’s paper, ink, paint and markers. One can never have too many of these things!

What things around you inspire you to create?

I love to look at books, magazines and other pieces of art. Sometimes I get tons of ideas and other times I feel like “the well” is bone dry. Lately, if I feel uninspired, I’ll just work on doodles in my sketchbook. It’s therapeutic and helps me to just do something. Doodles can turn into the coolest pieces of art. My kids inspire me too. They come up with ideas and my job is to think of ways to execute those ideas. It’s really good for my middle-aged mom brain!

Why did you choose Etsy to sell your products?

My friend has a shop on Etsy. I had never heard of it and when she told me she was selling things on Etsy, I said “Etsy? What’s that?” In my memory, the clouds parted, rays of sunshine fell upon my face and the angels began singing the “Hallalujah Chorus”. Once I got my first things listed, I got so much positive support from others on Etsy, it helped give me the confidence to keep going. I’m hardly a successful seller, but I really love it. I continue to work on figuring out the business side of Etsy and hope someday to be a successful seller.

Is there anything/any artist on Etsy that motivates you to improve what you are doing?

I hope I’m not hogging up too much space if I say I have at least four who motivate me. Two people I actually know and have met in person, two I haven’t met before.

Not to sound like a “suck up”, but you, Kristi Mott, motivate me to improve. I am so impressed by your business skills and the success you’ve had on Etsy. I also love your soaps. Whenever I use them, I feel like I am giving myself a special treat (no kidding!).

My friend Lisa Bartlett (lisabartlett.etsy.com) motivates me to improve and she has given me more opportunities than I ever dreamed I would have. I took one of her mixed media collage workshops a couple of years ago, and since then, she has encouraged me to do all kinds of things related to art. She owns a B&M, Artlandish Gallery, in downtown Columbia, Missouri. I’ve been fortunate enough to sell several things in her shop and I’m now helping her coordinate workshops for the store. She’s an awesome artist and very good about promoting others and providing opportunities for artists to get their work seen.

There is a Canadian artist named Jessica Doyle (JessicaDoyle.etsy.com) who motivates me. She works hard, is good about sharing information, is a wonderful business woman and is very emotionally honest in her blog posts. I sometimes feel like we’re great friends, even though we’ve never met in person and have only corresponded a couple of times.

If I can mention one more artist, it’s Geninne (geninne.etsy.com). Her art is gorgeous, with bright colors, beautiful illustrations and it makes me very happy. She paints birds and flowers – usually in watercolor and ink. I am so excited when she has a new blog post! She is so generous with the information she shares with her readers - which I think is the best evidence of a confident artist. She did a tutorial on rubber stamp carving a while back and one on watercolor painting. I feel like I benefited greatly by watching her work. I really appreciate when an artist shares his/her knowledge.

What is one thing you can tell other artists to help them keep moving forward with their aspirations?

I believe the desire to create and make art is a gift from God. It is part of who you are and you will never be content if you aren’t finding some sort of outlet for that creativity. Consider it an honor to have the desire and go out there and make something!

Ok, I have to ask this one: Cardinals or Royals? ;)

Thanks for not asking “Jayhawks or Tigers” because I’ve heard that question asked too many times over the past few years (it’s Jayhawks, by the way). Since I’m from the Kansas City area, it has to be Royals. But I have to add that I am not at all a loyal sports fan!


Find more about Laura in her shop profile and her brilliant blog. I love catching up on her artistic musings! Of course if you need colorful art cards, prints, or original art....check out her shop and be sure to ask her about her handmade stamps! I have one and it is amazing!

http://sleeplessimagination.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/Sleeplessimagination

http://twitter.com/Laura_Lynne

www.sleeplessimagination.etsy.com

Monday, March 15, 2010

Missouri Mondays

It's Monday again....and yes, I know I skipped last week when I said I was NOT going to do that. And it is getting a little late in the day here! But I am posting as I want to announce an upcoming twist on my Monday posts. They will now be called Missouri Mondays. Why?

Well, I'm sitting here in the middle of Missouri and all these fabulous artists around me, from here local, the east, the west, and as far as the southern corner. I'd like to dedicate some time each week to share some of the fabulous talent I've found here in Missouri with the rest of the world.

So stay tuned. Next week there WILL be a fabulous post!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Teaching Opportunity

I had another topic planned last week, but over the weekend I had the opportunity to share some of my knowledge with some elementary/middle school kids and wanted to share that for my Monday post this week instead.

It has been quite awhile since I've done any teaching, and it reminded me how much I do enjoy it. Of course this was a really low stress class with 4 elementary school students (and a 5 yr old whose mother later said she was "teaching" her dolls about soap later that evening!) who are involved in a local 4-H Chapter. They participate in various "projects" throughout the year in preparation for the County Fair. This group of kids are in the Crafts Project and are introduced to a variety of arts and crafts. When their project leader asked if I would be interested in presenting during one session, I didn't really have to hesitate.

What was the topic? Soap of course.

I introduced them to the concepts of Handmade soap vs. Commercial Soap, safety and cleanliness while soaping, and then we made some products of our own.
We started with a simple Melt and Pour soap project where they were able to melt down their own soap base, scent and color as desired, and mold. After we had the soap base poured we moved on to making a simple bath salt recipe and decorated and labeled jars. The recipe is as follows:

No Slip Bath Crystals

Ingredients:

½ cup Epsom Salt
½ cup non-iodized sea salt (fine or course grain)
½ cup baking soda
10 drops essential oil or fragrance oil
colorant (FD&C)



Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a gallon sized zip bag.
Mix thoroughly until color and scent are well blended.
Transfer to clean jars or containers.
Label and give.


Label information:

Ingredients: Sodium bicarbonate, Sodium Chloride (sea salt), Magnesium sulfate, fragrance, and FD&C color.

They will be able to use these as projects to take to the county fair over the summer. They also made extra salts that will be incorporated into an upcoming auction.

I enjoyed being able to share some basic knowledge and skills to the kids. I hope they will be able to benefit from the information provided and I know they ended up with some great products to include in their projects.