Saturday, February 28, 2015

Minimalist Game

 WOOHOO! Today is the last day of February - 28 days = 28 items
Day 28!!!! I made it!

These two guys, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, explain here:

But, basically, each day you get rid of the number of items for that day.  Today is the 28th - so 28 things need to go.  They do say that it needs to be out of the house.  I guess there is a fear that some people would start going back through all the stuff and "take" it back.  I decided just to start a pile. I have a big box for the stuff going to Habitat for Humanity and a bag for the clothes that will go to Goodwill.  I also have a box for things that out-of-town family members want.

It all started when I had seen a post that my sister had put on Facebook and I questioned what it was all about.  I figured if she could do it, then I could do!  And I did!

I know you guys on Facebook are probably sick of seeing me post every day what I am doing for the #minsgame. But, posting a picture of the stuff on Facebook really, REALLY, helped me to stay on track.  Each day I knew that I would be holding myself responsible, and it worked.

There are a few things that are really crazy about this whole "experiment" or experience.  One is that I thought about it everyday.  I would wake up wondering if I would be able to meet my goal for the day.  I know it doesn't sound that difficult, but for some people like me, it is very hard to let anything go.  Now, I am not a hoarder, I do throw out (recycle, reuse) tons of stuff.  But, there are other things that I have real trouble with.  I moved 21 times before I turned 21.  Because of that I packed my whole life into boxes and hulled them from place to place.  Each one of those possessions were my home.  I still have tons of my toys from when I was a toddler. Most I will still never part with. And I don't have to right now.

Another thing for me is that I own an art gallery and gift shop.  So, I promote buying.  I also, have a huge collection of art in my home.  But, this helped me to remove the "crap" and have more room for nicer things.  Probably 99% of the stuff that I removed was from my cabinets, closets, boxes in the attic. It wasn't things that I look at every day and enjoy. Probably, many would think that my house is too crowded with stuff, but my husband and I enjoy them and the memories that go with them.  And again, I don't have to get rid of those things right now.

Other than my childhood toys, I found it difficult to get rid of things that I might one day use in a sculpture or piece of artwork.  Again, I realized that it is ok to save some things and let go of others.  It will be different for each person.  I could easily get rid of tons of clothes, but the fish bones that my son collected while camping next to the river I couldn't part with (yes, I know...) Each person will have a different experience through this process.

I am luckily to live in a fairly large home (for two people) and also have a studio, attic, out buildings, and business away from home with an office.  So, I have plenty of room to spread out my stuff.  The things that I chose to hang onto do not impede my life.  I do not have to step over piles of stuff, or I don't have to shift piles to get work done (at home at least - well a little in my studio).  A lot more would have gone out if I wasn't married.  I do have to respect his things and pieces that he has a connection to, but I don't.

The other neat thing about this was, that so many people saw my posts and asked what I was up to.  After I explained, almost all said what a great idea and that they needed to do the same.

Where do I go from here?  Well, my office at work is a pit of despair! I am going to try and do the same challenge at work.  But, don't worry I will not post pictures everyday of the paper and crap that will come out of it! After that I plan on tackling my clay and glass studio, but that has to wait for warmer weather!

I would love to hear if any of you have tried this and what your thoughts are! Tomorrow is a new month!

Monday, February 23, 2015

A little sewing tip for my girls with a little extra up top

 This is the story of my life...

A saw this really cute dress in a catalog.  I hinted to my husband that I wanted it for Christmas, so he bought it for me.  The day it came in the mail, we were going to a dinner party with some friends.  I was very excited to be able to wear my new dress!

After rushing home from work and quickly put on the dress, I then looked in the mirror.  I broke down and started to cry.  I didn't look anything like the girl in the magazine did.  She was fairly tall, but was also pretty flat chested.  The dress hung from the top and made me look like I was wearing a sack.

I throw off the dress, quickly put on a pair of jeans and a cute sweater and we headed out.  THE END

That is not the end!  I hated that my husband had spent money on something that I specifically asked for and then it was thrown in the bottom of my closet.  I have been sewing all of my life and thought how stupid it was of me not to just fix it. 

I want to show you this simple fix.  If you can sew a straight (or even crooked line) then you can do it.  You can either use a machine or stitch by hand. All we are doing is adding a simple dart.


You can see the dress just hangs and is not very flattering.  We are going to help that!
Step 1: Turn the dress inside out and put back on.
Step 2: Find the correct placement for the darts - facing the mirror, go directly under the center of the breast to the bra line.  That is the starting point.  Pin or mark this with a white pencil.  It is on the inside, so don't worry. Remove dress.

Stitch dart
Step 3: Keep dress inside out! (This dress had seams at the correct place already) Fold the material from the pin mark going down the front of the dress.  
Step 4: Stitch from pin mark down about 2" and in about 1 1/4".  When you get to that point, leave the needle down and lift the pressure foot.  Rotate the material so you are heading in the right direction without the material getting bunched up, and lower the pressure foot.  Continue to stitch down 4" and over to the fold line.
Step 5: Repeat for other side.  Make sure that your starting and stopping points are the same (otherwise you will look lopsided!)

You can't tell much from the front

But there is a huge difference on the side view!

Now, to go through the rest of the closet and see what else I need to fix! I am not the best at explaining things, so feel free to ask me any questions.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Worry Wart

I am such a worry wart, I worry about everything. I worry every day.

I worry about my business:  I worry that people will stop coming in, that I won’t get things ordered, that I won’t get all the merchandise checked in, that they won’t like the items that I have selected. I worry that someone is going to rob me, that I will walk in and the leak in the roof opened up and the whole place will be flooded, that the Featured Artist’s Reception will be a bust, that the musician won’t show up, that the artist won’t show up, that someone is going to crash in a glass case and then I will get sued….

I worry about my car: I worry that the air conditioning will stop working (again) when it is 100 degrees outside, that I will get a flat and be stuck on the side of the road, I worry every time it rains because it leaks all around the windows, I worry about driving it the rain because the back end is so light, I am afraid I will lose control. I worry because it is 18 years old….

I worry about my house: I worry that a tree will fall on it, I worry that the pool will leak, that the pump will burn up, I worry that the water heater will flood, that a pipe will burst, I worry about it catching on fire like my grandparents’ house did. I worry of losing my “stuff”….

I worry about my dog: I worry that he will get bit by a copper-head, that he is going to fall into the pool and not know how to get out, that he will develop hip-dysplasia and won’t be able to climb all the flights of stairs, that he is over-weight, that he will  that he will develop cancer like our last dog….

I worry about family: I worry about their health, about being over- weight, about being under-weight, not eating properly, about having a family history of medical problems, about family values, about the children growing up “too quickly”, about their views on politics, religion, freedom. I worry about them being independent, but still needing education.  I worry about who will take care of who, who will be able to lean on who, and who will be there when someone really needs help…

Specifically, I worry about my husband:  I worry that he works too hard, that he needs to retire, that he needs to slow down. I worry that he doesn’t have enough time to enjoy the things that he wants to do, that he will forget what we have done, that there just isn’t enough time “left”, that he spends too much time worrying about me…

Specifically, I worry about my children: I worry that they are still children, but yet they are adults. I worry that they drink too much, party too much, stay up too late, drink and drive, text and drive, go through too many relationships, are not in a relationship, don’t eat healthy foods, don’t get the exercise they need. I worry about them driving around town or taking long trips. I worry about them getting jobs, not getting jobs, paying bills, saving for later, becoming independent.  I worry about my daughter finishing school, figuring out her path, her being happy with herself.   I worry about my son jumping out of airplanes, about him being deployed. I worry about them ever minute of the day.  I worry about their future…

BUT, I have to remember that “Yesterday was a dream and tomorrow is a fantasy, I only have today – this moment” to get through!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Presenting Your Artwork to Galleries

I want to share a few tips to artists who want to present their artwork to galleries.  These are only suggestions and may not apply to all galleries.  These are just a few pointers to get you started and they are not necessarily in order.

~ Remember that this is the same thing as applying for a job. Presentation is important, first impressions are important, quality of work is important, a good attitude is important.

~ Visit the gallery.  I mean actually go there and walk around.  See if your work would be a good fit or not ~ subject, medium, scale, price range.  If possible, even say “hello”.  There is no reason to introduce yourself or even tell the owners that you are an artist.  Just act like you are interested in what they have to sell.  They will remember you.

~ Ask yourself what is your motivation for wanting to be in that particular gallery.  The obvious answer is money, but sometimes exposure is just as important. And just because you have wonderful artwork, does not mean that people are in the market for it.  It is not the gallery's fault if your work does not sell.

~ Check out the gallery’s website.  Do they have requirements for submitting work?  Follow those guidelines first.

~ Make an appointment.  Gallery owners do not just sit around twittering their thumbs waiting for you to come in.  They are busy and have deadlines – make an appointment!

~ Find out what the gallery wants you to bring.  Don’t just show up with your phone expecting them to scroll over a hundred images.  Have the pieces professional finished, as if they were ready to hang or exhibit. Bring a resume, business cards, a bio, whatever else you feel will sell yourself.

~ Remember that they may be the only person working, so if a customer comes in, plan on waiting.

~ Remember that no matter how much you value your artwork, there already has been a hundred (or a thousand) artists before you trying to sell their work to that same gallery.

~ Remember that most galleries schedule shows years in advance.  Do not think that you are going to walk in and have your work hanging there the next week.  You have to wait your turn, particularly in smaller venues.

~ Ask what their policies are on commission, advertising, insurance, removal, receptions, and scheduling.

~ Please do not be rude to the gallery owners and then expect them to call you for a show.  We do not forget.  

I am sure there are many more suggestions out there.  I will be adding this to my website and will add additional comments or suggestions.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A time to reflect on 2012

With the new year, I have been reflecting a lot on the past year and also looking to what is ahead.  Here are a few snip-its from 2012.

January 2012
Spent first month in the new house.

February 2012
We had a benefit for the Carolina Tiger Rescue at Liquidambar Gallery and Gifts.

Clint and I took a welding class together.  We made a great log rack.
I visited Nancy's first apartment and we put together some new bookshelves.

And we celebrated Clint's 18th birthday (not sure why I don't have any pictures).

March 2012
Spent some time down at the river.

Then, we had a ton of rain for March and the Haw River was roaring!
April 2012
John and Clint made a back patio.

May 2012
Spent many hours working in the yard and swimming.
June 2012
Clint graduated from High School!
July 2012
We competed in the Annual Redbud Sunflower Contest.  We won 3rd place!
Two of my nieces came down from PA.  This is Ruthie at the NC Museum of Art.
We celebrated Nancy's 21st birthday and my ... birthday.
August 2012
Clint headed off for Basic Training for the US Army.  This was his last night before he left.
September 2012
Our baby, Biscuit, died of cancer.  She was about 9 years old.
October 2012
We celebrated Johnny's .... birthday with a quiet dinner at home.
Clint graduated from Basic Training - US Army.

November 2012
I was able take some creative time and take a few art workshops.  This one is with Bob Burridge (that is his painting).
Mr. Neville became part of the family.

December 2012
John was my featured 2D artist at Liquidambar Gallery for the month of December.
Was able to spend Christmas with some of the family.  Wish everyone could have been there together!

I could have filled this with hundreds of pictures of the past year!  Time goes by so quickly.  I am looking forward to the New Year - 2013.

I heard a great quote last night, "Our only purpose is to love."  It is so true, all the rest really doesn't matter.  So, my new year's resolution is to love more and not worry about the rest so much.  Here is to wishing everyone a Happy New Year! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hand-bound sketch book

My husband asked me if I would make him a hand-bound sketch book.  I was very reluctant at first, because I usually only make smaller books.  But, since he asked....

I first started with an 18" x 24" sketchpad, 50lb paper.  I cut the paper in half, so I ended up with 12" x 18" sheets.  These I then folded in half to make each folio.  Six of the folios made up one signature.

I wanted to add a little more, so I used scrap-booking paper as the outer cover of each signature.  
 Unfortunately, the paper is only 12"x 12", so I glued two pieces together to make the correct size.

Taking a piece of paper, I marked off equal spaces of where I would punch the holes for threading. 

 Then the tedious threading... I only pricked myself one time. 
 This shows the signatures being added one by one.
 Next, I picked a fabric for the spine.  The first one on the left was what my husband had said he liked best when I showed him the new fabrics that I had just bought.

I used the cardboard that was the backing for the sketchpad as my book board. And then glued the fabric to the three pieces of book board using Aleene's Tacky Glue.  Do Not use a store brand of Tacky Glue, they are not the same - trust me.
 This shows the inside of the cover and the three pieces of book board.
 Again, I wanted to use heavy scrap booking paper for the outside of the cover.  They were not big enough, so I used two pieces and put ribbon on the seams to cover the joints.
 A view from the inside...
 Repeat on the backside....
 Having to glue in the bookblock (pages) is the hardest part, particularly with this size of a book.  I was so frustrated by this point, I forgot to put in the headbands (a little piece of cloth that goes at the top and the bottom of the bookblock.) Oh well, I probably shouldn't have said anything.
 The finished book!
This shows the scale of the new sketch book and the size of the books that I usually make.  I honestly probably won't do another large book, unless my husband asks again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

October Featured Artists at Liquidambar Gallery

I wanted to let everyone know that I will be having two amazing ladies as the Featured Artists for October.  Beth Hayden, from Raleigh, NC. and Jo Lovvorn, from Hillsborough, NC.  The reception is October 7th, from 2-4pm.  We will have Andrew Kasab performing music and there will be complimentary food and wine!  Everyone is invited!

Beth Hayden:


Elizabeth Hayden was born and grew up in Wilmington, NC and began exploring the
arts through painting, collage, drawing, and set and costume design.
As a child she spent many years in private lessons with Hester
Donnelly at the St. John’s Art Gallery. She received her BFA in art
from UNC Greensboro in 1986
and an MLS from UNC Chapel Hill in 1990. After spending a number of
years living and working as a librarian in places as diverse as
Istanbul, Turkey and Houston, Texas, she once again returned to
painting as an outlet for her creativity and her love of art and
painting again became a passion. She was a founding member of the
Foothills Painters Guild in Hickory and has participated in shows at
the Wilkes Art Gallery, the Rockingham Fine Arts Festival, and as the
featured artist at the 2009 Wake County SPCA Fur Ball, their annual

Artist’s Statement:

I look for the way in which light illuminates the ordinary and

transforms even darkness and shapes into color. The world consists of
tiny snapshots made by an observer; the observer chooses how to view
this world. I try to paint things that I believe are sadly overlooked
in our frenetic society, putting my own snapshots of the world onto
canvas. Impacted by the fleetness of beauty in the commonplace and a
rapidity of life, where change seems the only constant, I feel that,
through art, time can be instantaneously frozen into intimate moments.

PLUS: Beth is donating 100% of the money from the sale of this piece, French Bulldog - $175, to the Carolina Tiger Rescue!!!! Thank you, Beth!  

Beth's pieces are available for purchase through November 25th, 2012, at Liquidambar Gallery and Gifts.

Jo Lovvorn:

Artist's Statement:

There is such a rich clay tradition in North Carolina and so many accomplished potters locally, that I feel fortunate to be a part of this very vibrant community. My goal as an artist is to embody the joy and sense of play I feel when working with clay whether I'm creating functional pots for everyday use or decorative pieces for the home. Most of my work is wheel thrown using high fire stoneware clay. Designs are created with slip and glazes and stamps and are typically abstract, sometimes primitive, and incorporate elements of nature. I am attracted to variations in form and strive for clean lines and designs that spatially fit each pot. The final glazing is done by layering shino glazes or by firing in a soda kiln. All of my functional pots are glazed with food safe glazes, and are dishwasher and microwave safe.

Each pot is unique. I do series of similar design, but no two are ever exactly the same and the designs are always changing. Every piece is created with attention to the way it feels in your hand or on your lips, to the visual pleasure it evokes, as well as its function. I want you to experience pleasure every time you touch it day after day, year after year.

Check out Jo's website at

Jo's pieces are available for purchase at Liquidambar Gallery and Gifts until October 28th, 2012. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Daily salad

Several of my friends have asked what I live on (eat).  I have Celiacs, but I am also highly allergic to wheat, and many other foods, including dairy products, plus, I do not eat beef or pork (for my own reasons).  I also do not leave my gallery for lunch.  I try to be good and take a healthy lunch, but that doesn't always work out.  I have found the easiest thing for me to do, is to prepare a large cold salad that I can take with me and leave in the refrigerator and eat on it during the week.  So, I thought that I would share.

When it comes to recipes, I do not measure.  Plus, this you could modify in so many ways to suit your tastes.

The first thing is to make a pot of Quinoa.  We buy quinoa in bulk from the market.  You fix it just like rice.  One cup of quinoa to two cups of water (I add a dash of olive oil, too).  Bring it to a boil, cover, turn on low and cook for 15 minutes.  Very easy.  If you are not familiar with quinoa, it is the only grain that is a complete protein, so it is like eating a big piece of red meat without all the bad stuff.
While the quinoa is cooking, I chop up three carrots, three celery stalks, and three cloves of garlic (yes, I love garlic).  I also dump in a medium size can (3.8 oz) of drained, sliced black olives, and a regular size can of salad beans.

I use the organic beans that are a mix of kidney, pinto, and garbanzo beans.  I have found a number of products that add wheat, but these do not.  These beans are a good source of iron and they are high in fiber!
Next, you mix in the quinoa.  I like to wait till it is a bit cooled off, because all the other ingredients are already cold.

Next I dump a bunch (I don't measure) of Balsamic Vinaigrette in the salad until it evenly coats everything.  I use the Kraft Lite BV, again, theirs does not contain wheat or dairy products.  Plus, the Lite doesn't have very much fat in it.
I eat my Quinoa Salad on corn chip Tostitos Scoops.  Because I do not add any salt to the salad, this gives it a nice flavor, plus adds texture.  I also add my hot pepper sauce to give it some zip.  (You can find that recipe at

This recipe can be modified in so many ways.  Add a can of corn or black beans instead of the salad beans, or .... (the list goes on and on).  But, if you want to add fresh green peppers, only add to the portion that you are going to eat right away.  The peppers can go bad quickly and it will spoil the rest of the salad.  Because this has the vinaigrette in it, the salad can last for quite a while. 

If you use all of the garlic that I do, make sure that this goes into a sealed container when you put it in the refrigerator.  If you just use plastic wrap or aluminum foil, your whole refrigerator will stink the next day!