Sunday, October 17, 2010

Carousels and Dancing Bears


It has been so much fun recieving samples back from Artists all over the world sharing their finished projects using my DIGI images.

Mina Hartley shared her CAROUSEL HORSE card-delicatly coloured and combined with papers and ribbons to make a finished item I would have been proud to create myself.

I love the use of the unexpected colours and textures combined with the expert handling of the embellishment of the image.

I find the best cards are the one where my art and what the artist creating the projects does compliment and enhance each other!

Meanwhile I recieved a note from Rebakah Lane, one of the Stitchy Bear Design Team, that she had entered her projects done originally for Stitchy's challenge using my images in another challenge and won top honors!

Well done you!

I love the way she used the images and made them her own by photoshopping the bear down to the head and flipping it for the tin.

It shows how versetile digis can be and what a good investment they are for crafters.

Thanks to both of these ladies for sharing their work!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The BUSINESS of being an artist-Yet ANOTHER rant

I have to tell you I’m astonished, a bit disheartened but at the same time somehow not surprised at how provincial the world of the online entrepreneur seems to be.

When I launched (like literally at the speed of light) into the world of the DIGI stamp, I had no clue as to even what a Digi stamp was.

My friend Dee Moran, always eager to see other succeed, gave me a nudge in that direction and I donated some images to Operation Write Home a wonderful group of generous people who provide handmade greeting cards and envelopes to our Troops overseas so that when they need a card to send home it is neither in some foreign language or some random, generic greeting supplied by the local PX.

The participants send literally hundreds of cards that they make individually or at card making parties that are available at no cost to the troops-a well intentioned and fantastically supported endevour that I hope goes on so long as we have our men and women serving us in foreign lands.

But I digress…

With the establishment of my ETSY shoppe along came the offers to “sponsor” various contests and challenges on the many blogs and websites that further the cause of stamping, card making etc., etc.

I am pretty much overly generous (not tooting my own horn but parroting the comments of friends and acquaintances who are irritated by the fact that my generosity makes them look like misers).

I was raised on sharing is caring and what I donate furthers ME since any advertising (well placed) is good advertising.

My first encounter went incredibly smoothly, I sent a formal contract for the use of my images, it was digitally signed and returned and the contest went on-actually is going on as we speak.

Business as I am used to business being done-with formal agreements and contracts so everyone knows what the terms and agreements are and how the event will play out.
Perhaps it’s because I started in the art business on the correct foot.

Years ago when I was approached to license my art work I took the contract I was presented to a wonderful art lawyer named (as I remember) Alan Ziff over on Wilshire Blvd-nice guy, very supportive and helpful.

For whatever his one hour fee was, he sat me down and explained law, copyright and many other “contractual-isms” that I would need to know to survive in the shark filled waters of art licensing and contracts in general.

Money, exceedingly well spent.

Of late, when I established the ETSY shoppe I asked several people whose opinions I value to take a look and give me feedback and they did-my brother-in-law the high powered accountant and an art friend, Linda Marino (a very intelligent and straight forward woman) at the top of the list for comments and suggestions quickly put into practical application.

So I am a person-an artist-who has put to one side the long hair and ripped blue jeans of my hippie days in favor of doing it the right way from the inception.
Do it right FIRST and you won’t have to tap dance when called to the carpet later, it will all be on some notarized document and thus no one can argue a misunderstanding.

Contracts, if you understand them and the concept that they can’t be one sided, they must protect equally all parties, are a GOOD thing (thank you Martha).

So along comes contest number two and I never thought there could be a problem since the first one had gone so smoothly.

I did the designs for the event and then asked for a signature on the agreement-well you would have thought I was asking for a million dollars in bond money instead of simple due diligence and an understanding of the agreement and terms for use of my artwork.

I, after all, am the one handing over several hundreds of dollars worth of goods in exchange for their use in YOUR contest-what is your “I am giving you nothing except some advertising that costs me NOTHING” problem?????

We are a litigious society.

We “sue” each other for little or no reason because the courts allow it and that’s why the courts are full of “dismissed” verdicts and hallway agreements before the claim is dropped in lieu of settlement.

A CONTRACT, however flimsy the ether upon which it is written, can side rail such litigation and save you problems-that’s why I LIKE them.

I am always a bit suspicious of those who immediately get nervous when they read a simple “terms of agreement” contract written in simple language and find fault with signing it.

If you intend to do business above board and as you SAY you are going to do it you should have no problem protecting ME while in the pursuit of your enterprise.

I suppose I am a bit of a Pollyanna on some level and the “feed bag” agreements (or worse yet “he said, she said” verbal contract) are now the way to insure that there will be a problem and a court case and lawyers will ensue…a sad, inevitable, road to DRAMA which many prefer over doing things in the correct manner.

As with many things blogged, you can tell I am once again annoyed by my fellow artsy folk and their disdain for anything like “doing business” over “going with the flow”.
I don’t fight the current anymore than I must but (big BUT here) I refuse to be the willing victim in some bizarre scheme where my art work turns up on a candy tin in South Hampton and somehow I agreed to let the person use the design free of charge back in 1982 at an art fair on a street in a beach town the name of which escapes the manufacturer of said candy tin at the time.

IT HAPPENED…so artists and crafters beware- BEWARE – do it like a business, use contracts, pay a knowledgeable lawyer to read over agreements and show you HOW a good contract is written and what it should contain.

Such an agreement doesn’t have to be pages and pages of legalese it simply says I do this, you do that, that’s all there is the end by such and such a date.

As artists, we MUST be business people as well if we intend to do this AS A BUSINESS.
That means paper, record keeping, taxes etc-all the things we eschued at some point in favor of a cash based market.

We must now re-embrace those tenants of good business and face doing things the right way from the start damn the complications and extra effort.

We are none of us, stupid hence the more we prove that as creative individuals we also have a business side the more we will be respected and allowed to eat at the adult table on Holidays.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stitchy Bear Challenge



RUN over to "http://www.onestitchatatimechallenge.blogspot.com/" and get in on the challenge to win a one of a kind digital stamp sheet featuring 7 designs by ME done especially for this challenge that will be awarded to ONE winner.

Inspired by the "Stitchy Bears" theme it features Holiday Bears doing all sorts of wintery things and is valued at over $200.00usd.

Just follow the challenge rules and theme and you could be the winner.

This sheet will be electronically transmitted to the winner and then will be archived never to be sold (or seen) again-a rare chance to own exclusive art that only you can use in your projects.

Her design team has done some projects using 3 of the images so you can see part of the art work on her site.

Have fun and good luck!!!

Thanks to Elaine Lienhart for two more wonderful inspiration projects using the Give Thanks sheet!

I have added MANY new sheets over at my ETSY shoppe thanks to popular demand for specific image ideas and all are suitable for spring and summer projects )although there are a few that could be worked into Thanksgiving as well).

I am also doing borders and corner pieces so that you can combine images from several sheets to create your finished projects-I hope to see many new design samples on these pagers in the next few weeks!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Give Thanks for the BOUNTY and Bread Pudding!



Ask and ye shall recieve Elaine-this recipe can be googled at Epicurious.com.

I don't use the Frangelico-I add Jack Daniels as I like that tradition Bourbony addition over Rum or the perfumy Frangelico-I do warm the JACK and flame off the alcohol to avoid a sharp note in the finished product.

Elaine's Cornucopia card sample is the perfect accompniment to a recipe for Thanksgiving-I love the "belt" detail she added to her design-just perfect!

PUMPKIN BREAD PUDDING BRULEE


1 3/4 cups half and half
3/4 cup sugar


2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 slices cinnamon raisin bread (each about 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches)


3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 tablespoon amaretto or Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt


6 tablespoons whipping cream
6 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
print a shopping list for this recipe

PreparationStir half and half and 3/4 cup sugar in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove saucepan from heat; cool mixture to lukewarm.

Spread butter over 1 side of each bread slice. Cut bread into 3/4-inch pieces. Divide among six 1 1/4-cup soufflé dishes or custard cups.

Whisk pumpkin, yolks, egg, liqueur, vanilla, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl until blended. Add half and half mixture; whisk until smooth. Pour pumpkin custard over bread in dishes, dividing equally. Let stand 30 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread to submerge.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place soufflé dishes in large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of soufflé dishes; tent loosely with foil. Place roasting pan in oven. Bake puddings until knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer puddings to rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat broiler. Spoon 1 tablespoon whipping cream over top of each pudding. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar over each. Broil puddings until tops are bubbly and golden brown, watching closely to avoid burning, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Give Thanks Digi Stamps



Its Turkey, stuffing and Pumpkin Mousse cheesecake time (my preferred alternative Thanksgiving delight-I also have an incredible recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding Brulee)-the sample card above is from Elaine Lienhart.



This post features some samples of the pilgrim figure from my Give Thanks digi sheet.

Patty Chapman ( http://patty-inkitup.blogspot.com ) was kind enough to share her version which uses the image on the cover of her card and the pilgrim lady on the inside-she gives some great instruction about how she did the card on her blog.






Dee Moran did this charming sample for me-each one has its own charm and personality.



I am so glad that my Thanksgiving digi sheet is inspiring people to do Thanksgiving crafts-an area that I feel is somewhat neglected.

We seem to go from Halloween directly to Christmas so it's nice to take some time to enjoy being thankful for all the bounties of the Fall Holiday Season.

Thanks ladies for sharing your work-I and encourage all artists and crafters to share any work you have done using my digi's, decorative painting books or patterns or articals from craft mags.

Friday, October 1, 2010

BUSY BUSY BUSY


I have been very involved with setting up and stocking the ETSY shop-hopefully I will get news soon about the SUPPLIES portion of the shop so I can get those items up.

There has been a severe shortage of black chipboard since the rains and flooding this past summer-that was one item I wanted to offer since so many people ask me about the wonderful heavy substrates I use and we have had great luck using the same black chip for fat books and other projects.

It will just take time.

I find that opening a shop means you get many requests for donations and I have been trying to fufill those as well since it's good advertising and widens the client base and visibility of ones shop.

Elaine Lienhart sent me the adorable card above-she does wonderful things with my images-she has entered this card apparently in a competition-you can see it on her blog as well-the link is under my blog reccomendations on the lower left on my blogger page.

Dee Moran has also sent me several new samples and I will get those posted ASAP.

I donated an image to the largest scrap booking group in NORWAY-hopefully that will generate some interesting sample cards from their members.

Just LOTS going on.

I am fairly well caught up on all my swaps and projects for the year-I have a couple pending but have cut way back on swapbot and I am hosting a tag book swap-pretty soon it will be time to start on my annual Christmas cards-this year has flown by...

Happy crafting all-I will get back to some serious blogging soon-just distracted now by all thats going on in my world.