Wednesday, November 29, 2006

You know it's the Christmas Season...

...when I start the hardcore procrastination. I'm supposed to have these ornaments in the mail to all corners of the earth by friday. Guess when I started. That's right folks! About 15 minutes ago. Not to worry, I only have to make about 15, and all this time I've been putting it off, and all the time I've spent on interstates 24,57, and 70 in the past month, I've been thinking and planning. I even knew exactly what kind of fabric I wanted to get.

Here's the best part of the story. I found that red and white stripe at Wal-Mart, for $2 a yard, and I CUT IT MYSELF. Whew! what a rush!! I couldn't find a salesperson, and I've always secretly wanted to use the fabric know, the barcode thingy with a trigger. I had my trusty sis stand watch, and I quickly cut myself 2 yards, scanned in the barcode, and printed out my own ticket. I know you've all wished you could do it. Don't lie. And I didn't cheat and cut more. I was scared to death of being caught. I really hate to get scolded.

So I'll be cranking out these ornaments tonight after the Untitled Artist meeting, and probably tomorrow morning, to get them in the mail on Friday. It's the most wonderful time of the year, right?

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:09 AM :: (2) comments

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Back to Regularly Scheduled Crafting

Or at least I hope so. After 3 trips to Missouri in 4 weeks, a death in the family, a severe case of stomach flu, 2 craft showings, major changes at work, and 15 holiday ornaments yet to make for my swap, I'm exhausted. I'm going back to work today a day late because a stomach bug kept me in MO an extra day. I'm feeling much better now, and intend to be posting crafting-related news soon. Maybe tonight. Or at least tomorrow. in the mean time, here is the finished floorcloth that I posted a few days (or is it weeks?) ago.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:06 AM :: (0) comments

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favority holiday. It's about having a great time with your family. It's not labor intensive--well, at least you don't have to decorate, buy presents, wrap them, and then also cook all day.

On a funnier note, my Thanksgiving gift to you is this: a short story I wrote last year after a particularly harrowing lock-out experience in my new home. I hope you enjoy the day!!

Here's a pic of my kitchen so you can get a mental picture:

This is a true story. And it's long, so read when you've got a minute.
I'm prolly not nearly as funny as I think I am. Here's the curse of the
Howard womens'boobs at work....

I got up this morning and went for my usual 3 mile walk. Normally,
that's enough, but just this morning I was crowned Davidson County
Little Miss Over-Achiever and thought I would get my bike out to ride
after work. Not only had I already done 2 loads of laundry and gotten
myself dressed (pretty smartly, I might add) for work, I was up and
down those basement stairs at least 15 million times this morning. So
as I'm wheeling my bike out, I think I should lock the handset so I
don't have to risk West Nile ( I have mosquitos that masquerade as
birds) and walk all the way back around the house after I put my bike
on the car. I slam the door thinking I'm pretty smart for saving myself
some time. I immediately see my mistake. I haven't gone out the kitchen
door today, and it's still locked.

I start thinking about all the times I've thought I should leave a key
somewhere or get to know my neighbors better. I think about the housing
projects I'd have to ride my bike through to get to work, and I start
thinking about my little tiny kitchen window that I know has a broken
latch. Then I think of the entire box of York peppermint patty cookies
I ate yesterday, and how the pair of jeans I was so proud of just
moments ago are more than a little tight through the thighs. Probably
not a good idea for lunging.

Aha! Wait! I see the elderly and definitely foreign-speaking mother of the
neighbor I never speak to outside and ask to use her phone. I call
Jason who has a key to the kitchen door and who is coming into
Nashville to work in a hour or so. Once he's on the way I start to
remember that I have a secondary dead-bolt on the kitchen door, the
only one he has a key to, that I lock from the inside and don't have a
key to from the outside. I realized someone is going to have to climb
in that window. I might as well start trying. I loved Macgyver as much
as the next gal.

I take the spatula from the bbq grill that I always tell Jason to bring
in, but he never does. I pry the screen off the door and open the
window. I realize that the window is a full 6 feet of the ground. I
pull up a chair, which is too short. I spy my trusty green garbage
can. Luckily, it's full enough to provide support for my clod-hoppers.
I do the splits to get from my top step onto the stair railing, then
onto said garbage can. I pause here to pray and to curse the York
Peppermint Cookies again. I take one attempt at unlocking the dead-bolt
with a broken rake handle I have laying around (thank god & grandma
for my pack-rat tendencies.) No luck on the lock. So it's in I'm going.
I eye the stove and have serious questions about if it will hold my
weight and all 6 feet of me once I propel myself through the window. I
decide to give it a shot.

I take a deep breath and stick my head and shoulders in. Then comes
the most harrowing part of the whole story. I have finally reached the
point in life and bra sizes where my boobs have become a real safety
hazard. This window is 20 inches wide, and will only open about 10
inches. Oh Holy God. Imagine my 3feet-plus of legs sticking out the side
of my house,six feet up in the air, kicking wildly. I squeeze and squirm and apologize to my future children for the ruin I'm doing to my mammary glands. Ow. Ow.
Ow. Whoaa, Ow. Finally my bazoombas (thanks, for the word, Erin) pop
out on the inside of the window and now I realized that the stove is
not long enough for me to walk my way in on my arms. I flip over to
face the ceiling and in the process turn on a burner, which I didn't
realize until my left cheek was getting toasty.

I got off the stove (quickly) and took a deep breath, and pulled my
boobs up out of my belt, and called Jason. He was not happy to learn
that I had gotten in the house and cost him an extra 3 minutes of
sleep. I'm just glad that I can detect my own breast cancer before it
gets too far.

I'm definitely going to put a key someplace safe outside the house from
now on--maybe in a flower pot shaped like boobs so today's trauma
wasn't in vain.

Sorry if you don't think this is funny--I'll give you the 20 minutes of
your life back some other time.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:35 AM :: (2) comments

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Jealous? Thought so.

And well you should be! I just WON this book! That's right! and they even looked at my quilt and signed the book for me!

I entered a drawing over at Å--which you should really check out if you haven't. It's a lovely podcast about the business and life of being crafty. Jennifer interviews really interesting and successful artists, and she asks all the questions that I would ask. My favorite was Alicia Paulson from Posie Gets Cozy. I think we're all a little obsessed with her blog, right? It's so eloquent and beautiful. And really well written. She is a creative writing Master's Degree holder, so I guess that makes sense.

Anyway, all I had to do to win this book was e-mail me this quilt, and then my name was drawn! you can go look at the gallery of other entrants here. Hooray! I love to win things. Don't hate me just because I win really random, but totally useful contests.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 11:22 PM :: (1) comments

Custom Work

This is a custom floorcloth that I'm painting for a client in Franklin. She gave me a swatch of fabric, and I designed this pattern and colors based on that. After I sent her a proof and she gave me the green light, I went to work. It still needs some coats of polyurethene, but it's almost done.

I drew the lines with a hair-dye bottle (because of the small nozzle) of watery brown paint. Then the painting was like coloring in a coloring book.

I'll post again when it's complete.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:31 AM :: (1) comments

Saturday, November 18, 2006

MamaMade--it's Done!

Doesn't Chelle have a great kitchen? So sunny and bright!
Here is Tisra's table of prints, etc. in the hall. She sold that watercolor for $25!!! Crazy! My friend Beth bought it--so it went to a great home.

The day was a success! I met lots of fun girls and traded for some great stuff. I'm totally beat, so I'm going to leave it at that. Will write more later.


Here are the big mamma bags that I sold:

Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:45 PM :: (1) comments

Thursday, November 16, 2006

In memoriam

Monday my grandfather, William Otto Howard passed away. He was 84 years old. He was a farmer, a Missouri State Legislator for 2 decades, and a real character to say the least. He was a big presence in the lives of everyone he met. And he never met a stranger. I miss him already.

p.s. that's my dad in the middle. Is he a hunk or what?!? And no, that's not my grandma's real hair.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 10:47 PM :: (3) comments

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

MamaMade Open House THIS SATURDAY!!

Here is another bag that you will be able to purchase at the MamaMade Open House this Saturday at Chelle's home in Historic Sylvan Park This is a bunch of fun and creative women, getting together to sell some goods and have a great time doing it.

Here's the Official Invite:

It's another Mamamade Open House! Several Susie Homemakers that you know have banded together to bring you an extravaganza of original goods and services and gifts for the holidays. Bring a friend! Eat some goodies! Buy some stuff that you can't find anywhere else

The Top 10 Things You Won't See at the 2006 Mamamade Open House

Crocheted tampon cozies
Thongs made from old neckties
Dish soap bottle aprons
Anything made from corncobs
Anything decoupaged
Anything with glitter (not that there's anything wrong with that)
Dream catchers
Macrame plant holders
Something that looks like a Barbie wearing a Gone With The Wind dress that fits over your extra roll of toilet paper

Who You Will See

Angel is proud mama to a boy and makes soap and bath products in all her “spare” time.

Angela wrangles her two children and quilts, sews and knits up a storm.

carrie is mama to the sassy little girl, and is a freelance writer and t-shirt mogul on the side.

spends most of her time playing princess with her two girls, but somehow finds time to create organic mama and baby body care products.

Jenni is mom to a busy boy and makes beautiful custom monogrammed paintings and pillows.

Becky spends her day with her two girls, but during naptime, she transforms into the owner of doodlebug embroidery!

Chelle chases her girls and makes incredible table and chair sets, lap pads, and chalk placemats for children with her company outside z box.

Julie is mom to 2 kiddos and when she has a minute, makes custom DVDs, digital scrapbook layouts and photo birth announcements with her business, MomMedia.

Paige is a mama, writer, and Apron String Revolutionary. She appears in the 2007 Mother Leadership Handbook & Engagement Calendar for mothers acting up.

tisra does a little of everything... linoleum block printing, sewing, knitting, and painting. She even had her first knitty pattern published this year, katja. Tisra has three children and sales at the event go toward the adoption fund for child number four!

Beth is our childless but honorary mama who makes all kinds of cool stuff - fabric, bags, art quilts and paintings.

Also, joining us a little late are a floral designer and a printmaker!

in Sylvan Park
5101 Dakota Ave.
Nashville, TN 37209
this coming Sat. November 18, 2006

Come and make your mama proud.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:42 AM :: (0) comments

Monday, November 13, 2006

Back in Production

Check out my wine-carrier! you can see I've got 2 bottles of wine in there, and I lined i with fleece to help temperature regulate. I'm back to spending evenings (and cramming some time in the hair is never fixed!) in the studio, cranking out lovely couture bags and stitched items. Well, at least, fairly well made, mostly of my own design items.

I'm participating in a Holiday Open House in Sylvan Park this Saturday. I'm going to post more about it tomorrow, but mark your calendars! 9am-1pm. Lots 'o great gifts for the holidays and they're all made by moms! No, for those of you wondering, I'm not a mom and have no current plans to become one in the near future. My boyfriend is enough of a handful. But Angela will be there, and Chelle from one of my classes, and lots of other cool mamas with very cool merchandise. Check me out tomorrow, and I'll post more info.

I think maybe I need to chill out on my green obsession. Not everyone loves it like I do. Why can't I just make something that's red every now and then? Must work on that. But...all my fabric is green. Or purple.

Anyway, my hair is drip-drying yet again. Time for work.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:08 AM :: (0) comments

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The last class

On Saturday I taught the last class I have scheduled at the aRThouse. It was so much fun! I only had 2 students show up, which was actually nice because we made a lot of dye and had a great time working. And somehow, while I thought I took photos of Angela also, none of them turned up on my camera. Sorry Ang! I'll make up for it later. I have a real struggle between wanting to document everything and not wanting to intrude on people.

We printed with dye and with ink, and made our own stamps out of fun foam sheets that you can buy at wal-mart (or michael's), and tried not to make a huge mess. I came out with a huge finished piece. I just love that flower stamp. I was trying unsuccessfully not to fall out over how much I loved my own stamp.

Here is my recipe for thickened dye that you can print and paint with:

per 1 cup of water:
1 Tbsp. Soda Ash
1 Tbsp. Urea
1/2 tsp of dye, or to taste (not literally!!)

Mix all of these together until they're dissolved.
Then add the Sodium alginate thickener. As we learned the hard way--sprinkle just a little (like 1/2 tsp. at a time) and mix it as you stir it. It will thicken up over time, up to 2 hours. It should be a ranch salad dressing consistency. If it's too watery, use more thickener. If it's too thick add more water. Trust me, less is more.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 12:24 PM :: (0) comments

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Excellent Purchases

One thing I love about making things and selling them is that it frees up some moolah for buying more supplies. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the only reason I sell things. I'll never be a successful business person because I spend all the income.

Oh well. These are some fabrics I picked up at Hancocks of Paducah on my way through--I always try to schedule my driving to Missouri around their hours. The best thing about Hancocks of Paducah is that they have a HUGE remnants table. And I mean remnants of all kinds of fabric--I actually found the newest Amy Butler's and some favorite Denyse Schmidt fabrics, too. And I just love that purple-y fabric from Anna Maria Horner. Did you know she lives here in Nashville? I know. I need to start hanging out more at the fabric store. Maybe I'll run into her and some inspiration will transfer to me through osmosis.

And wouldja look at these stamps??!?!?! They're all post-marketdy and British. I picked up 2 huge Ziploc bags of them at an estate sale in St. Louis's Central West End. I think I'm going to break them up into smaller lots and put them up on Etsy. I love them, but don't need 2 huge bags full.

Or maybe I do.

No, Beth, you don't.

But, maybe I'll use them in a huge painting.

But you probably won't.

But you never know...

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:50 AM :: (0) comments

Monday, November 06, 2006

Me and my idol (or one of them, anyway)

Let me tell you that I HATE this photo of me. I look like a giant ready to eat Paula Deen, who turned up at my work for a quick book tour (on a private jet, no less) She's bona fide Food Network celebrity. I was wearing heels, so I was approx. 6'4" this day, and I have something wrong with my eye, so I had to wear glasses, and I was wearing comfy driving clothes for the 400 miled trek after work on Friday.

Anyway, enough excuses. I just love Paula Deen she's hilarious, raucous, and generally sweet and salty. And she cooks EVERYTHING with a stick of butter. Love it!! Judging from this picture, maybe I need to lay off the butter.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 10:55 PM :: (3) comments


At last! All my blocks are completed for my round-robin quilt. You've been watching these blocks progress oh-so-slowly, and now the whole family of squares is complete. I need to go on the block control pill now to stop me from making any more. Once you start...

When I got to my mom's house on Saturday, she immediately put me to work planting trees in their yard (a hilarious continuous fight between my parents, usually ending with my dad cursing. She wants trees, he doesn't.) So I got dirty within 10 minutes of getting out of my car from a long drive. That's okay, though, because we did a little labor trade, and she helped me sew the remaining 9 blocks. And so did my sister, for whom I spent an hour on the phone with some guy in India to try to resurrect her iPod.

So now I'm going to go about getting them sewn together. It's going to be some work to even up all the squares, to say the least. I'll keep you posted.

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Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:49 AM :: (1) comments

Friday, November 03, 2006

My treat for you

This is the best book I've ever read on creativity and the artistic process. Even though Twyla is a dancer, she really knows her stuff about how to tap into creativity. About how it's work, and you can't just sit around on your arse and expect to spit brilliant creative work. She says you have to develop a routine, to input as much info into your head as you can, in order to have a well to draw from when you're ready to create.

I mostly love how she talks about work. I think a lot of people think artists have a relaxing way of life and laze about all day, only to charge astronomical prices for their work. Twyla is from the school of hard work. And you better believe I'm a subscriber. My farming ancestors wouldn't have it any other way. And really, I'm never happier than when I'm busting ass for a project I love. Even if I don't love it in the end, it's the process of making something that puts me in that place. I think that's why I go for really labor intensive stuff. I have much more attachment to the time I spent creating a piece than i do to the end piece. Which is convenient to someone who sells their work, I guess.

I'll be out of town this weekend visiting ailing grandparents. I'll tell Missouri y'all said "hi"!!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:27 AM :: (0) comments

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Fall Festival Fun Night

I realize that this blog entry includes no photos of my own pumpkin. That's because it failed miserably. I was so busy trying to make sure everyone was fed and had the proper utensils for pumpkin decoration that I didn't plan very well for my own pumpkin. Let's just say i didn't have the right kind of glue, and not nearly enough glitter. Isn't that always the way? I'm generally short on glitter lately. Tonight I'm going to see Marie Antoinette, so maybe that will get my crafting mojo back in check. Who knows.

I think i just need a little break. I've got to get back in the groove, however, because my next class is coming up at the aRThOUSE next weekend. It's going to be great. I hope we can all get some real productive time out of that class and everyone goes home with several nice pieces of fabric.

Must go prepare my lunch for work. I told Brandon (pictured above with mullet) that I would bring in potato soup for lunch today. Yum!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:47 AM :: (2) comments