Confessions of a Craftaholic

ATCs Inspired by a Friend

Yet another ATC swap. I have about 5 packages to mail out today, I swear.

Today, I made a set of ATCs, for a swap that was inspired by the artwork of my friend, Lisa Kettel. This is how I interpret her art, in MY style:

So that’s that, as far as all the ATCs go. Hubby and I have been working on something special for our new etsy shop.  I’m SO excited!

I no longer blog on sundays. It’s not a pentecostal thing, it’s a lazy thing. You know, growing up in New Jersey, everything, I mean EVERYTHING shuts down on sundays. Even supermarkets would close around 1pm.

Here in brooklyn, I live in a very predominantly jewish area, and everything shuts down on fridays and saturdays. Sundays in New York City, is when all the new yorkers go out to play. I’m serious. Saturdays in manhattan or brooklyn, you’ll see the tourists, and the folks from Connecticut, Long Island, or New Jersey, come to spend the day in the city. Sundays, is the day when you see the real new yorkers out to play with the kiddos and such.

Sundays my husband is off of work, so I like to spend time with him and the kid. Tomorow, a friend of mine is having a craft supply yard sale, and then there’s a food truck bizaare at the Hell’s Kitchen flea market.  That should be splendid! If not, maybe we’ll get some empanadas instead. OH MAN hell’s kitchen has THE BEST colombian empanadas. Vegetarian ones too! SO good. Trust me. And the hot sauce is real authentic colombian hot sauce. So good.

You know, back in the days, I used to sell at the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market. I would sell my handmade vegan soaps. I did well, actually. If it’s one thing that people buy at fairs and festivals, it’s silk screened tee shirts, and soap.  I had decided not to sell anymore because it just wasn’t my thing. It’s A LOT of work, selling on the street or in a fair. You have to wake up super duper early (around 5 or 6 I’d wake up, normally), make sure everything is packed up (because you’d have packed up the night before), make sure you’ve got change (dollars, I mean) and leave to take the train, get there and set up, be there until closing, and normally I wouldn’t get home until 9pm, after packing up, chatting with the person next to you, etc.  Anyway, I did a lot of them, and in true Sagittarius form, I lost interest. And I got pregnant, so there is that.

I dont’ think that I will ever do them again, not here in New York City. A couple years back I did vend at a place in Jersey City, NJ and did well there. Very well, actually. But eh, New York. I have my opinions on that, which I think I’ll keep to myself.

At any rate, all of this was to say, that on monday, you’ll see a sneak peak, and if I get the chance, you’ll see the full fledged finished product. I’m so excited. This is going to move our etsy shop in a different direction-in a place where my husband and I are working together, creating together; this is something I wanted from the moment I married him. I hope you like it; and by like it, I mean that I hope you purchase our future products, which you’ll find out more about on monday.

 

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Hopeful ATCs

Recently I joined an ATC swap that had the title “Printmaking” in it, and so for some reason I thought it had to do with making your own lino blocks, which I do enjoy doing.

But it wasn’t, the object was to create a set of ATCs using something you normally wouldn’t, to create a print. So, I chose corrugated cardboard, from a starbucks sleeve that I was saving, just for this type of project.

I used acrylic paint, with the corrugated cardboard on top of a background I made by smudging different shades of re-inkers together on the paper. Then the rubber stamp, and the stars really bring this ATC to life, I think.

Yes, I am back to doing swaps, but not TOO many. I like ATC swaps because they keep my mind creative, while not giving up too much of myself. The problem I had in the past, is that I love swaps, and put a lot into them, and then there goes a person, sending something you obviously don’t like, or that took a lot less time to make. It can be annoying. At least with ATCs, it’s quick, and it’s not like making jewelry or an altered notebook or something.

Not much else to report, really. I woke up with morning sickness, if you want to know. I don’t know what to eat anymore. I mean, that with this pregnancy I have found that I have to eat what I crave, but my problem is sometimes I’m not craving a darned thing, I’m just hungry! I did find that I love the pizza hut bread sticks. Yum.

Well, hubby has the day off, so we are taking our little one to the Children’s Museum here in brooklyn. After that, in the afternoon, it’s the aquarium (if it’s not raining) and the Coney Island fireworks! Let’s hope the rain comes tomorrow.

 

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Inspiration Thursday

(note: photo by Rita Rivera)

A person never truly gets over the pain of losing someone. You may or may not know, that my brother passed away when I was sixteen years old. He and I shared the same father, very curly hair and brown eyes.

He was such a cool guy. I always looked up to him, even though his loud music annoyed me. My mother did a good job of keeping us apart, but he still had a special place in my heart. I love him. I miss him.

You know, he was the one person who understood me, who “got” me. You know?

I’m going to share a poem I wrote for him. I was thinking about how time passes, and over the years, you fear forgetfulness when mourning the loss of a loved one. You think, I just don’t want to forget the little things. So this poem is about the little things.

It’s called, “A Dirge On Forgetfulnesss”

 

I

think of you

eighteen years later, I

am almost haunted

by you

johnny

eighteen years later, I

remember the smell of your colonge down the stairs, you

always left a trail

and your

loud music, I

must confess, I

try to remember the little things

 

I wish I could show you my daughter, she

reminds me of you

just a bit

 

 

and johnny

I

wonder where you are

do you know

what life is about,

tel me the secrets that lay beyond the grave

tell the path to enlightment

tell me if there is a god in heaven

tell me Johnny

tell me

years later, I

remember your New Jersey accent, your

curly brown hair cut short, your

sad

eyes and

that tattoo on your arm, I

thought it made you look so cool…

 

Johnny

I write scores and scores of dirges for you,

so as to not forget

the little things

I don’t want to forget

how much I looked up to you, or

how cool I thought you were

I

don’t want to forget

that it rained that day that we buried you

that I wanted to be buried with you

 

So Johnny, these dirges I write for you

in hopes that you also

don’t forget about me

where ever

you may roam.

 

 

 

I wrote the things I did, because as a child, I would always think about my grandmother (who passed on when I was just about 5 or so), and think about how she must be sitting somewhere with all the secrets to life and spirituality. As a child, I marveled and wondered about life after death.

If you’re thinking about death today, or mourning the loss of someone, why not write about it in your journal? Draw, write, collage, and reexamine how it makes you feel.

Death has a funny way of bringing out feelings you never thought were there.

 

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An Altered Journal for a Pin Up Fan

Today I worked on a swap. I do love creating things for swaps, it’s so much fun. The swap that I worked on today, is for an altered journal. Fortunately for me, I happened to have a very good artist sketchbook, just waiting to be altered.

My partner’s favorite color is purple, and she loves pin up girls. So here’s what I came up with:

Now, I know that it is not typical of me to have a lot going on, as I love to lean towards the simple side, but today I was in the mood for a lot going on. I used purple acrylic paint by Plaid Crafts, Pan pastels in purple, typewriter font background stamp, and fusible glittery fibers, by Art Institute Glitter. The flower is by Prima, and is hiding a smudge. Damned inky fingers.

I used dimensionals to get Ms. Betti Page to pop out a bit more.

The ribbon was sent to me as extras, in a swap I was in.

The film strip ribbon is by Mr. Tim Holtz. I love that stuff!

What else? Today I am catching up on a bunch of swaps. I usually do them in bundles, since I wait until I have the extra $$ to mail them all out. It’s easier to do it once every couple weeks or so, then to have to keep going every so often.

Oh man. The other day, I made the most AMAZING portobello mushroom pizza and blackberry lemonade. It was SO good. Don’t worry,the food blog is coming. But since I don’t have the most high tech camera in the world, you all will just have to wait until my dear husband has the time to take amazing shots with my crappy camera, of the step by step.

That’s all for today.

 

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Potty Mouthed ATCs

Today I finished up some ATCs that I made for a swap that I’m in. I warn you though, the swap is a “Blunt” ATC swap, which means cursing is involved.

I had to recruit my husband who has neat handwriting, to write it for me, since my printer is out of commission.

Well, I don’t know how I feel about them. I rather like them. Anyway, the swaps on ATCSforALL are quite different, in that you send them all to one place-the hostess. You also send her a little extra something, which is fortunate for her, since I happened to clean out my closet.

Speaking of which, can you believe that I destashed about 7 bags of garbage and 5 bags of art supplies to my friend? Crazy, right?  I couldn’t believe I had that much stuff to get rid of.

Today is tuesday, which means it’s the day to go to the Botanic Gardens with my little one. I love it there.

 

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Frida Altered (Blank) Journal

Today I finished up a fun project. I found a blank journal, while cleaning up a corner of my apartment, and decided to paint it up, and dress it up.

Here’s what I came up with:

I’m not one to brag, but it did take me some time and lots of love to make this. I like to sit and think about it for a while, get distracted, come back to it, work on it a bit more, get distracted again….that’s how my art works.

I think it’s because I’m so used to getting distracted, that I kind of make it work for me.

Anyhow that frame there, is vintage. The lace is vintage also.

You can CLICK HERE to purchase.

Today is Independance day, which marks the annual hot dog eating contest in Coney Island. While I would much rather stay home and work on art projects and swaps and such, I think I’ll make it out to see people stuff their faces.

The only thing about being a vegetarian, is that I suppose cheese fries will suffice for me, since just the thought of eating a hot dog frankly makes me sick to my stomach.

And that’s it!

 

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Owls, for Jaqueline

Last night we had the pleasure of attending the “quinceañera” party of our neighbor’s daughter. “Quinceañera, is the latin version of a sweet sixteen, and let me tell you: latinos know how to throw parties.

Anyhow, being the crafty lady that I am, I decided what better to make a fifteen year old girl, than some earrings, right?

I made her earrings and a matching necklace.

I’m only sorry I can’t show you the earrings. I can’t show you the earrings, because the picture came out blurry. I was in a rush, what can I say?

At any rate, I’m happy with it. From the feet of the owl, hangs mother of pearl beads.

So that’s that.

I might make a pair of these for myself, so no worries, you will perhaps, be able to see the earrings after all. And I realize I need a model for some of my etsy products. Any New Yorkers out there want to volunteer? I’m looking for the two extremes: either light blonde hair,and fair skin, or dark skinned women with dark hair.

Hit me up, if you’re interested! I can pay you in jewelry.

 

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Johnny and Audrey

Today, I finished up a couple pairs of earrings. I couldn’t decide weather to use Johnny Cash first, or Audrey Hepburn, so actually…I did them both at the same time.

These earrings are made with little blue vintage beads, that hang from his guitar. He’s perfect for the rebel in your life.

CLICK HERE to purchase.

Here’s Audrey:

She has these pretty vintage inspired green flowers, below her torso.  These, and all my handmade earrings are ALL under $10! So inexpensive, to make such a cool fashion statement.

CLICK HERE to purchase.

 

What else? I’ve got a couple more ideas up my sleeve, for my shop. And this weekend is July 4, which is my mother in law’s birthday, so I’ve got to make something for her birthday.

The vegetarian thing is totally working. I have been avoiding meat for about 5 months, but strictly for about 2 months. Before I got pregnant, I started getting really sick whenever I’d eat meat, so I stopped. It started grossing me out, which helped with me foregoing it.

I have to say that I feel healthier and more alive now. I have a juicer, so I’m back to juicing, and I make smoothies with greek yogurt which is an amazing source of protein.

I guess that I’m living up to my one of my resolutions, which was to eat better. The other, was to go to school, which I am going to also start in the fall, part time. I found a wonderful online program that I’m excited about. I’ll be finishing up my application next week, and I guess I better get started with financial aid, eh?

Anyway, all this to say that I’m quite happy with where I’m at, and happy with where my life is headed. Life is good. Never perfect, but blissfully imperfect.

 

 

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Inspiration Thursday

Today, I had something particular in mind, and I wanted to talk about it. Most of my faithful readers know that I’ve been more open lately about the abuse I went through growing up. What you don’t know, is that abuse permeates every aspect of your life, even as an adult.

I wanted to share a poem with you today, and I hope you like it. It’s rather dark, and it sort of….goes there. But it’s the best way to illustrate what I’m trying to tell you.

This one is called, “I am not the guilty party”

I used to feel guilty

for the way you made me feel

I

looked at my spouse, and his

seemingly perfect relationship with his

less then perfect mother,

and I

felt guilty

for the way you made me feel

I used to think that what you said was my fault

that what I felt was wrong, and

I

was just rebellious and somehow

I must have

deserved it

all

I

felt shame

shame that others who bear the same maiden name as I,

deny

deny

denial and ignorance

must be bliss

out of shame they deny

But I

am not ashamed

of how you made me feel, I

am not ashamed to say

that I was angry

and I was sad

and hurt

by you

and your hurtful words and your

wooden spoon and your

threats to me,

“I’ll kill you one day…..”

blaming your marrital woes on a

10 year old girl, and

telling me

“don’t you dare tell your father”

don’t feel guilty, I

don’t, I

didn’t do anything wrong

I

was not

the guilty party

no

and I can declare aloud

there is no shame in me

for what you made me feel, I

will not deny

and if denial

means having a relationship with you

denial is something I do not want, you see

I

am worth more

than denial, I

am worth more

than throwing myself

under a bus

I

am not

the guilty party

So this poem is because I just feel like I have no reason to be ashamed or guilty. Don’t say sorry to me, when I tell you about my past. Why should you be sorry, was it something I did? While I very much appreciate your wanting to show empathy, do not tell me you’re sorry, as no one has died, and I did not make any mistake. The only tragedy was the mistake my parents made with me, that will cost them a relationship with me.

I will tell you I have relations that went through similar problems, with the corporal punishment. They all choose to deny what happened. All of the sudden, their parents are perfect.

Well, nothing has happened to my memory, and I know what happened.

I choose a few things today.

I choose to be happy, because I have a wonderful husband who supports me, and a wonderful daughter who is smart and loving, and another baby on the way, another extension of my love for my husband and his love for me.

I also choose to not deny it anymore. This of course, means I can’t have my parents in my life, as they choose to deny what happened, stating that I was simply rebellious and am spreading lies. Why someone would want to lie about nightmares and childhood trauma, I have no idea.

I also choose to not be ashamed of it. Yes, this happened to me. And no, I’m not going to cower in shame about it anymore. I am not the one who has done anything wrong.

I say all this, in part because I frankly needed to vent. And in another part, because if something like this happened to you, don’t be ashamed. Don’t deny it. Declare it.

Art is amazing tool for healing. You can take all the anger, all the tears, all the sadness and grief, and turn it into art. Make art with it. Write about it.

I’ll close with another poem, a nice fluffy happy one. I should note, all of it is true.

This one is called, “I can tell you a story”

I can tell you a story

about when it happened

when my

eyes opened and I

saw the light of dawn

I could tell you a thousand stories of how my

hope was restored and

I could see again

I could

from my hands I show you

with my art I teach you

the secret to my happiness

the secret to my

ability

to love, it

lies in my paintbrushes and paint, in my

glue and paper and things

My friend, one day out of

sheer desparation and

frankly, boredom I

stole my husbands paint brushes, I

found myself

beside myself

painting my pain

writing my life, and I

felt like

I had become

free

and then that night

I kid you not, I

dreamt a dream I became an owl

I awoke to the feeling of wings on my back, and I

remembered the owl by my window as a child

he

always

kept me awake at night with his

hooting and hooting, and he hid

so well.

So I took it as a sign and continued to make art

and I remain

to this day

on the path

to myself.

 

 

 

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Handmade Affirmation Cards

While I haven’t finished all the affirmation cards, I did do a few. Here’s what I got so far:

 

The key represents doors of opportunity, and success. The wings mean, dreams taking flight.

Now, before you look at me puzzled, let me explain. I’ve got Johnny Cash giving the finger here, because to me, choosing to be happy doesn’t happen when things are good. It has to happen when there are hard times. When you’ve got the lemons in your life, you simply look at the hard times in the face, and say “F%*#$ you, I’m going to be happy anyway”.

To me, that’s what he reminds me of when I think of choosing to be happy. It’s having the strength to go thru the sadness or grief or dark moments, and still say, F$%&*# you, I’m going to choose to be happy. The Buddha reminds me of this also, but in a different way. It’s about having that strength, and then having the peace within yourself, and letting go of expectations. It’s about inner peace. So the buddha and the peace sign remind me of that. And flowers, because I love nature. It makes me happy. And the sun because I love summer.

The Goddess Lakshmi is the goddess of good fortune and wealth. The empty birdcage (from Stampin Up) reminds me of….freedom. To me, success goes hand in hand with having the freedom to believe in your dream, and the freedom to pursue it. But unlike a bird in a cage, you alone can give yourself the freedom to believe and pursue your dreams.

I’ve never believed in formulas to success. I firmly believe the only real secret to success is hard work. Blood sweat and tears are needed. Anyone who tells you differently is steering you wrong. Do what you love. Believe in your dream, and prosperity will follow.

I reference birds a lot because I really love birds. I admire the freedom they represent. Birds know how to move on. When the weather gets intolerable, they don’t just sit there miserable, groaning all winter long. They move on. When their babies are big enough to be on their own, the make them move on.

If we look to the birds, we can learn a lesson in moving on. Life is about moving. Life is movement, everything around you is about movement. You cannot remain stuck in the past, and think that you will be happy. Moving on, leads to you choosing to be happy. You see?
So that’s what I’ve got so far! Do you like them? You should make your own! Would you like a tutorial? Leave a comment on my BLOG HERE, and perhaps you shall be blessed with a tute!

 

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