Friday, March 23, 2007

A Little Sojourn

Okay, my friends. Thanks for being loyal readers! I really appreciate all of you who look at what I've got going on in the studio, thanks for the comments, and even for those of you who just read and don't leave comments (lurkers!!) Just kiddin'. I'm mostly a lurker myself. I look forward to writing good stuff and showing you interesting things that you might find inspirational.

Anyway--I'm off for a week's vacation in Barcelona, Spain!! I can't believe it's finally here! I'm such a packing space cadet. I got all the way to work this morning without my passport and had to go back. I started my new messenger bag at 10:30pm!! And then I still wanted to cut out pieces for this excellent take-along quilt project (naturally). So I didn't get to bed until 2, I got a phone call from work at 5:30am, and never went back to sleep. I'm pretty sure I'll not have any trouble sleeping on the plane.

My camera's flash card holds 1400 (!!) photos, so you better believe that I'll have some good blogging material when I get back. Then 2 days after I get back I'm going to New York City for work, and will try to do some fun stuff on the weekend. So what I'm saying is: stay tuned! I've got some great stuff coming up!

See you in a week!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 12:04 PM :: (2) comments

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Si! Es Finito!

Kelly's painting is finally done. Without too much drama, I might add. I worked on it at the Craft fair in East Nashville, and I've been nit-picking and touching it up since then. Kelly picked out the song lyrics she liked best, and now it's all done and ready to go to her on her birthday later this week. (Gosh, I hope she doesn't regularly read this blog).

I'm working hard on my itinerary for pre-travel tasks this week. Up tonight: Journal and messenger bag making. And I have big plans for the journal, so just you wait, dear readers, just you wait!

I'm trying to get all my foreign currency in order and my taxes done, and wedding invitations printed and cut for some friends, and it's making my absolutely nuts that I don't have everything in place in my studio. I bought some great shelves and space-saving stuff from Ikea, but I don't feel like I have the time to get them all assembled. Miracle of miracles, I did put the stool together in less than 15 minutes and with only 4 tools from the tool box. That's pretty good for Ikea!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:17 AM :: (2) comments

Monday, March 19, 2007

The first of several vacations

This weekend we went to Atlanta for a mini-break. Mostly to go to my Disneyland--Ikea. I love even the smell of that place--it smells clean and crafty. Ahhhhh, I wish I were still there. I was trying to explain this whole thing to Jason, but he was pretty unimpressed. To bribe him, we went to the Georgia Aquarium which is pretty excellent. It was sad when Jason got eaten by a whale-shark. I was pretty inconsolable for at least 3 minutes, then I ran off with the really hot bearded beluga whale specialist.

I'll be busy this week rearranging the studio with all my new Ikea stuff (the main reason for going to Hot-lanta) Finalizing and printing wedding invitations for some friends, sewing some new accessories for the trip to Barcelona on Friday, doing mountains of laundry and packing like a mad woman. Oh, and hopefully finishing Kelly's painting.

Here's the empty studio--like you'll never see it again. I was thinking as I was clearing stuff out: holy crap. I'm NEVER moving.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:31 AM :: (2) comments

Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Ideas

I've been busy behind the scenes here painting and sealing my new worktable. I'm SO excited about it. I'll post some pics as soon as it's done and in place.

In the mean time, I've also been doing a lot of painting--mostly painting that I promised my friends. And I gave my poor baby sister 4 canvases for Christmas and promised to paint them, but I just did it this week. Terrible! To make matters worse, I used a couple of her canvases to paint these 2 up above because I had an itch and wanted to try out Anna Maria's fabric on canvas technique.

All this to say: I've been really busy, just not with exciting blog-posting material. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have Kelly's painting done, and you can bet that I'll post it. I really need to get my worktable in place because I'm going to IKEA in Atlanta this weekend, and I want to get a new bookcase. But first I have to take every thing out of the studio and see what I have space for. It's only 10x11 for crying out loud!

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

Monday, March 12, 2007

True Confessions

I have a confession to make. All last week I knew I had signed up to do a street fair in East Nashville, but I didn't tell you guys. Honestly, all week I was trying to tell myself that I could back out of it, and not feel guilty. I just couldn't bring myself to write the e-mail to Jodi, the wonderful organizer and tell her that I wouldn't make it. After last week's Nashville Craft Mafia show that was less than financially successful, It just sounded like a long day outside with little rewards. I never unpacked from last week, just in case. I still had the tables in my car, so I think a part of me secretly wanted to do the show.

Then on friday my friend Jay walked into my office with a copy of the Tennessean, and there on the the 2nd page of the weekend section was my farmland quilt! And then I picked up the Rage, and it was in that too! I realized that was a sign that I must participate.

And I'm so glad I did! It was a beautiful day, I sold much more there than at the NCM show, and I took Kelly's painting to work on, so I was content and busy all day. I'm most happy when I'm busy, not waiting for sales eagerly.

So fo r the record, this is the beginning of a monthly tradition at the Lipstick Lounge in East Nashville. Next month it will probably be the 1st or 3rd Sunday, but after that it will be the 2nd Sunday of each month. Next time I'll give you a heads up and you can come see me there! Here's the link to their website.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:23 AM :: (3) comments

Friday, March 09, 2007

i'm tortured

I'm working on a painting for my friend Kelly, and it's really torturing me right now. I'm in that panicked state of creating where I think it's never going to look good. And i'm pretty seriously concerned that I may end up completely re-painting this before it's over. I'm already into a LOT of paint. I mean a LOT. I originally intended for it to be all wonky and abstract, but I'm not sure if I'm even capable of that at this time. After spending the last 7 months workin mostly on a computer system and not designing, I'm in a pretty left-brained state of mind. I might be more tempted to paint over the whole thing, but it's freakin' huge. 48" by 36". I think all that space is giving me a complex--really playing well to my anal tendencies.

I'm using some shimmery paint, which I absolutely love. Probably not very professional painter of me, but hey! Who gives a crap? Not me. I'm tired and ready to sleep on it. Isn't it great how you can hate something at 11:30 at night, and wake up to a miracle in the morning? I love that about a new day--things never seem so bad. How awesome is it that we get a fresh start every day? Well, mostly. I wish I would wake up with a Julia Roberts type body tomorrow morning.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 12:13 AM :: (1) comments

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Springing forward

Holy crap I look like my mom in this pic. Except not as hot.

With my taxes all foldered up and ready to go to the accountant in the morning, I feel so relieved! I thought: Hey! I should make a list of all the things I want to do now that I don't have a huge deadline hanging over my head! (although, I'm sure there is a deadline out there waiting to drop down over my giant noggin.)

So here are some things I want to start working on. There are big and little goals, but all are important!!

1) design a line of hand-printed fabric and produce it, and sell it on etsy, and make myself a little niche, and generally take over the world
2)Finish my round robin quilt--all done but the quilting!!
3) Make more woodcut prints
4) work on art quilt with 3-D flowers
5) paint my new work table (!!!)
6) have a garage sale and get rid of junk
7) take good photos and update my etsy site
8) redesign my website
9) GO TO IKEA (I've been trying to go for months, and haven't been able to get there) I love that place. If nothing else, then for the swedish meatballs!
10) design wedding invitations for some friends
11) collaborate with local artist on a sculpture project
12) paint my sister's Christmas present
13) paint my friend Kelly's painting (she bought a 48" x 36" canvas!!)
14) piece together some more flying geese and maybe do it by hand (so I can have a take-along project)

I'm going to Barcelona in 17 days, passport gods willing. It was supposed to be mailed today. If it's not here by Friday, I'm calling them. It would really suck to be stuck here while my family goes on a Spanish vacation because I couldn't get my passport together in decent time.
Speaking of that--I know some of you are in other corners of the world--does anyone have any good suggestions for me about visiting Barcelona? Like any good art/craft related shopping or museums?

Here's my mama circa 1976, she was a homecoming queen candidate for her college. Very un-my-mom-like. We affectionately call her the German Task Master (sorry mom! Love ya!)

Posted by Beth Howard @ 11:06 PM :: (4) comments

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ahhh...just to breathe once again...

I didn't realize I was so stinkin' tired until I tried to go to bed on Saturday night at 6pm. My boyfriend convinced me to get up and go out--but I still fell asleep during RENO 911! Miami. I love a good laugh, but even on a good day I'm too much of a baby for a 9:30 movie. I realized that I didn't really get great pics of other booths, but I'll try to track some down online and give you a link.

The Revolution of Craft came together beautifully. It was an absolutely perfect venue, great vendors, and an all around fun time. I could have sold a few more things, but live and learn. I was a little frustrated by other crafter's pricing. I'll try not to make this a dissertation, but here goes: I spend precious time and money making my wares. I'm not about to make them for free. So when other people price their things so low (for example, I saw gorgeous hand-embroidered clutches for $15) it devalues everyone's work, including their own. On a typical bag, I spend at least 3 hours, and including materials, probably $5-10 per piece, so selling that bag for $40 sounds like a good bargain to my customers. Ok, that's it. I'm just trying to tell everyone out there--think about the work that goes into what you're buying. If you want to spend $10 on a very cool bag, go to Target. They have great bags. If you want a one-of-a-kind hand made bag from someone like yourself, the be prepared to pay only slightly more. I wasn't really pissed about what I just said. I just wanted to get that out there.

Yesterday I spent all afternoon cleaning my studio. Wow, that feels so good just to have a clean slate. I even swept the floor! And if the floor is clean enough for me to sweep, well, that hasn't happened in 6 months. I mean seriously clean. I'm taking my taxes to the accountant on Thursday. Oh, man, I hate!!! paperwork!!

I'm so excited just to be able to work on something that I want to work on for once. Stay tuned for paintings, collages, finished quilts, more pillows...who knows!! I can't wait.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:20 AM :: (5) comments

Friday, March 02, 2007

My 100th Post!!

How sweet is that flying geese pillow up there? I had this crazy compulsion to make it. Like I knew that it was completely impractical to spend 10 hours piecing and quilting it when I had bags to be cranking, but I love it so much!! It was nice to spend time mindlessly sewing instead of thinking "does this need a pocket?" "If I make this strap long enough for a giant like me, will a shorter person wear it well?"

I'm going to price that sucker accordinng to time. I don't even care if no one buys it. It looks pretty darn nice on my red couch.

I'm so impressed with myself for sticking with the blog-posting thing. I could never keep a diary as a kid, or now for that matter. I would go back and read what I had written and be horrified by my pompous dronings. But I like that I can post my artwork, and you can all see what I've been working on. If I start writing about who I have a crush on and why they don't love me back and what 7th grade girls are mean/stupid, then I will cease blogging. I must make a pact with myself never to do that.

I think I made my last bag before the Revolution of Craft this morning. Now onto booth design, merchandise pricing and packing.

Yesterday's tv appearance went well. I refuse to watch it myself because I felt like I was fairly fabulous, and I don't want to ruin that delusion. My boyfriend's critique mentioned my shaky hands and he said that it all happened too fast. Well, that's what TiVo is for, right? Or the internet.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:06 AM :: (5) comments

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The video is UP!

You can go check out my Talk of the Town appearance (and learn how to make a 5-minute bag) RIGHT HERE!!

I think it went pretty well, although I must say--they made me take of my stylish necklace because it messed with the mic.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 3:49 PM :: (2) comments

Sign me up!

Thanks to my cuz Kim, I'm all signed up and ready to go for the Jane Sassaman workshop in Johnson City, Tennessee in July. Now if I can only get the days off work. It's a sweeps month and traditionally we're not allowed to take vacation. That means that 4 months out of the year, we can't have a day off. I hate this rule. Especially in July.

There are lots of good classes to take--you should look into a sewing or quilting class if you ever have the chance. It's not so much the patterns or the finished project, but teh little tips and trick you can pick up from the world-class teachers.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:20 AM :: (0) comments