Tag Archives: time management

Charmed, I’m Sure

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Like most people these days, I frequently find myself pressed for time when it comes to things I want to do (like creating art) versus things I have to do (like working). More and more, though, I find that if I put a project on my brain’s back burner and let it simmer awhile, the actual time it takes to create the piece is drastically reduced.

Case in point: Today I created a piece from start to finish (except for framing) in about six hours including breaks for food, pets, and drying time. This is highly unusual for me, but I’ve been thinking about the work since I popped awake at 3 a.m. about 10 days ago and made a quick sketch just to get the idea down so I could sleep. So, even though I had organizational chores that took up my time for awhile, by brain just kept plugging away at what I was going to do. Then, when I stepped into the studio this morning ready to begin, I also finished. Perhaps the organizational tasks helped, too, since I re-sorted all of my backgrounds, pictures, and embellishments in the process of refining a system I implemented a year-and-a-half ago. As I sorted, I thought, “Oh, I should use that!” when I came across a piece of lace or some beads I had forgotten about.

Here’s today’s work: “She’s a Charmer.”

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I started by spray mounting heavyweight pink construction paper to a 30″ by 20″ foam core board to create a solid colored base layer.

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Next, I swirled glue on top of the construction paper and added a layer of dress maker patterned tissue. The swirls of glue (which show since the tissue is so thin), provide added interest.

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Next, Stanzilicious PouffyPants helped me choose some flowers to cut out of printed and sequined felt. These felt pieces are remnants of calendars that my mother-in-law makes for me every year. When the year is up, I cut away the calendar portion and keep the decorated motifs for other uses.

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Once cut, I glued on the sequined felt pieces and added some paper rickrack to finish the border.

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I tend to use whatever I have handy to weight items down while the glue dries. Here I used a couple of heavy books and a pair of pliers. The items added to the piece include a plastic recorder that I painted to look like brass along with half a thrift store hat and a glove with some wire and batting. I sketched my lady’s face, scanned it in, and printed it on manila paper. Her lipstick, eyebrows, and hair are alcohol marker, while her eye shadow and blush are oil pastel. A green zipper “snake” is responding to the lady’s tune.

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Poor Licorice needed a little help to join me on the studio table today. He had surgery last Tuesday and tore out his stitches last night, so the boy has to wear an inflatable collar and a bandage until we can take him back to the vet. This, however, did not stop him from wanting to take Stanzi’s spot this afternoon. It also garnered him quite a bit of extra attention and treats.

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Next, I added a little more jewelry to my lovely lady. I had already placed an old (broken) ring on her gloved had before gluing down the fingers, so I an amber colored earring and a charm bracelet I picked up a couple of months ago at a swap meet seemed appropos. I also added some jewels to the zipper “snake” for some extra shine.

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The final touches include beaded fringe for hair plus one more flower for good measure. I used a drawing of an angel wing that I had previously completed for her collar and outlined it in gold glitter. (After all, a girl can never have too much sparkle!)

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Finally, I added the lettering that ties together all of the imagery. The word “charm” can be used in multiple ways: as a reference to beauty and grace (my lovely lady), as a means to mesmerize (a snake charmer), as a piece of jewelry (a charm bracelet), and as a means of good luck and protection (under an angel’s wing).

After spending so many days contemplating this piece, I am happy to see it finished, and I’m excited about the next idea rolling around in my brain. (No spoilers, but I will say that it involves a recently acquired broken cello.) I’ hoping to capitalize on some think time for a few days.

 

 

 

 

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The Devil’s in the Details

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Popular advice on living and working goes two ways: “Don’t sweat the small stuff” or “Take care of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves.”

No wonder I’m always so confused! The paradoxical nature of these philosophies can create problems in life management. (At least it has for me lately.) As we move closer to launching our new product line (Colarting – where coloring becomes art) and our new website, the details seem to be ganging up on me and holding me down.

Two nights ago I spent three hours looking at embellishments online – weighing the pros and cons of rhinestone size, shape, and color; checking a ruler for relative size of charms; figuring out per piece prices on packaging; comparing the merits of glitter cord versus metallic cord … you get the picture. After dangling my toes in the wholesale supply market I presented my list to Lochinvar like a cat dropping a goldfish at her owner’s feet (and with about the same result). Needless to say he really just didn’t know what to do with this detailed list of shiny bits meant for our kits. (This is a good example of how to not sweat the small stuff – get someone else to do it for you. Of course, the down side to that is you are stuck with someone else’s decisions.) On the other hand, the right assortment of embellishments will add value to our pieces and (hopefully) make people want to buy them. Ultimately, Lochinvar did what all good partners do – he said, “This looks great!” and smiled encouragingly, even though he wasn’t really sure what I had done.

So, every time I spend hours doing something that looks insignificant I find myself contemplating whether or not I’m overthinking it or spinning my wheels for too long. After all, I have a deadline to meet. Which, of course, is another double-edged sword. While some people balk at deadlines, I tend to thrive under them. My ability to work under tight deadlines helped me land (and keep) my first writing job at The Mountain Press (my hometown newspaper), and it’s a skill that has served me well over my 23-year teaching career (especially when it comes to getting essays graded). However, deadlines are also stressful. They impose a sense of urgency that keeps me awake at night and demands time away from relaxing activities like enjoying a dirty martini and a James Bond movie with a cat in my lap.

I guess, in the end, the trick is choosing which details to give time to. If I sweat the right details (but not all the details) perhaps that will be enough.