Friday, December 29, 2006

This Year, Reeeeally

I'm a big fan of New Years. It's the official day of List Makers everywhere. For one brief moment we get to make our list and make it least until we lose the list or break down and burn it. But besides some slight pitfalls, I love The Resolution.

I'll be working on mine. (Pre-resolution resolution: no goals pertaining to the body!)

So happy List Making Day and see you on the flip side. I think 2007 is going to be a great year for crafts (and my collection of gel mediums!)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Artist Wednesday!

I've been reading some good art magazines lately and keep coming across different artists. In an effort to be more aware of various peoples' work I'm going to start posting some of those artists' names each Wednesday. Take a look. Inspiration comes from everywhere.

The first 4 do sculpture while the last is an oil and watercolor painter from Oregon. (!!!) I'll be checking her work out the next time I go to Portland~

Andy Goldsworthy
Henry Moore
Magdalena Abakanowicz
David Huang
Rachel Ann Austin

Friday, December 22, 2006

Craft Cat Project 2: Snowflakes

Decorate someones door (maybe while they sleep) with this cute and easy project! I hung them across Susan's office.

Again- Forgive the photos. Apparently I don't have the skill for something as complex as white on brown photography. Guess I'll never be an Arctic photographer after all.

5 Pipe cleaners per snowflake
(cut 2 in half and 3 keep whole)
Chop stick

Wrap a whole pipe cleaner around chop stick. Wrap medium tight. Carefully pull pipe cleaner off chopstick.
Pull half a pipe cleaner through the tight coils. Gently extend coils so that they are length of half pipe cleaner.
Repeat this 2 more times until you have three total.

Take the 3 and stack on top of each other so that their centers overlap. Space evenly.

Wrap final half pipe cleaner around the centers making sure that you wind in between each connecting so that nothing jostles loose.

Put a dob of glitter glue on your finger and rub it lightly into pipe cleaner. Let side dry before adding glitter glue to opposite side. To hang, tie thread to one of the snowflake legs and the other to whatever.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Craft Cat: Project 1 (Tea)

Due to the chaos of the past week, our news letter didn't include Craft Cat. I wanted to put up some ideas for Holiday projects. Please forgive the photography. It was sort of snap and go.

But before the projects, here's some updates on what's going down here:

-filming with David Kitler finished up last night around 10pm. This was sort of a marathon shoot in that David's work has such detail. Filming didn't wrap until 11:30pm one night even! The man can draw and the DVD is going to be great. We wish him a safe drive back north.

-Zach is working on Claudine Hellmuth's DVD audio as I write, which means we are getting closer to getting that out. I'm really excited about this and have been playing with the techniques since she filmed in October. I've kept mum but it's almost too hard.

-I'm in the middle of the final rough edit of Sherri Haab Metal Clay. The Watson and Guptel book/DVD comes out I think in spring. We'll be releasing at least one more of her DVDs then. Your gifting with never be the same!

-Tonight is the Holiday Party complete with secret santas. We just got the news this morning that Lynn and Jim are giving us Friday AND Tuesday off. Very nice of them. Zach and I will both be using some of that time to make up hours. We *almost* got to leave our computers!

Onto the goods:

Project 1: Decorative Tea

Assortment of Tea
Small rectangles of various papers

Remove paper tags from tea bags. (Careful with the staple)
Add your paper and staple.

Wrap these in a box and give with a pretty mug for a complete gift!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Let there be...oh nevermind.

If you were standing in the Creative Catalyst Productions office on Thursday night around 7:15 pm, this is what you would see.

And then if you were standing in that same place at 10 am the next morning?

Wait, oh wait, what about 7pm Friday night?

You guessed it...

Actually, for a good portion of today you would have Susan in the semi pitch dark running orders through one computer run by our neighbor's power and the postage printer running off a borrowed family generator (her family's generator). She was absolutely determined to get orders off but finally had to leave around 4 because her fingers were so cold (no extra power for heat!)

So now Jim, Lynn and I are all in hotel rooms and might be setting up a studio for filming David Kitler in one as well a la Portland Art and Soul style (only without the sounds of low flying jets.) David is somewhere between here and the Canadian border driving south. We can't get a hold of him (he has no cell phone) to let him know that the road MapQuest is probably telling him to take to our studio might be under 6 + inches of water by the time he arrives...oh, AND that there is no power and we're moving the entire operation elsewhere. Who knew that EVERY conference room in the city would be filled with holiday type festivities. There are actually a LOT of conference rooms in our small town. There are also apparently a lot of holiday festivities.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Project 1 of....

I've almost finished gift one for the holiday 12. I keep getting sidetracked with ideas for other non-Christmas-list projects, but still one is better than none. I hope I'm still not saying that December 24th.

The picture above is something I did for work. During the holidays if people order more than a certain amount they recieve this pretty little mouse pad as sort of a thank you. The mouse pad is the kind where you can put a picture inside so the bosses asked me to make the image that we put as the temporary picture.

Anyway, it was quite fun to do and I sort of felt guilty that I was having so much fun during work hours.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Handmade for the Holidays

I walked into a shopping mall this week and had a scary revelation:
The Holidays are upon us.

On the one hand this means baking, good movies, and hot cocoa!

On the other hand, it means confined spaces brimming with so many people you wonder if they are all actually real.
So I threw down the gauntlet...

...which was an empty Starbucks cup, which I quickly picked up because I'm strongly anti-littering...
...and am making a goal for myself: I want to hand make my Christmas.

No final product can come from a mall. My gift list isn't so long- around 11-12 people.
The men will be the toughest, but they are anyways.

Here are my (completely arbitrary) rules:
Gifts must be handmade, secondhand or altered new. For example, if I screen print clothing I don't have to make the clothes; however it would be better if they came from Goodwill. Double points!

When the season is over, I'll look back and see how I did. So pull out the supplies, good ideas, and of course, the cocoa. The holidays are in full swing.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

T Minus

I can see it right there on the calendar. Twenty, count’em 2-0, days until Christmas. If you take out days we have David Kitler here, and then the holiday parties and perhaps count sleeping, that really only leaves like 10 days. This probably isn’t helpful thinking. What IS helpful thinking is that somewhere in that giant pile of fabric, paper and paint (spanning now 3 rooms) are loads of *potential* gifts.

In other news, Creative Catalyst Productions rescued an abandoned cat out of a drainage ditch this past weekend. (Our shoes will be muddy until spring). It’s amazing how hunger overcomes fear. Bobby (her temporary name) was emaciated and terrified. All it took was a cat of wet cat food and a good night’s sleep someplace safe and she follows us around the yard hoping for some attention. Our neighbors have offered to take her and she’ll have her first vet appointment next week. Thank goodness for we’ve reached cat capacity. If our neighbors hadn’t offered, I was on a campaign to offer a cat adoption in our newsletter. Speaking of newsletter...back to work!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Goods on Glue

I've been working on a few different projects for Christmas and it seems like every time I go to the craft store I come home with a different version of Mod Podge. I sort of feel this is the poor woman's gel medium (OK so not really) but I'm determined to make it work on all the random projects I'm currently neck deep in.

If you are a Plaid fan but still aren't straight on what's what in terms of Mod Podge, they have a useful site. There is a lot of cross over between the different varieties so I can basically use the 3 different types I own on all of my projects.

Winter Wonderland

One of the many cool tips Ann Baldwin shared during her Art & Soul workshop is that the hardware store is one of the best places to find art supplies. As I walked through Home Depot today wondering what all I was breathing in, I thought of this. Ann says she loves it because there are so many neat things and because generally items are cheaper in hardware stores than in an art stores. (I certainly found this true with resin price comparisons.)

I agree that a hardware store can get your creativity flowing but sometimes even the specialty hardware stores can't supply the ribbon necessary to fulfill the holiday cravings. Craft stores are always great this time of year for such visual treats but last year I found my new favorite holiday paper/ribbon place: The Container Store. I discovered this holiday wrap mecca after seeing their Winter Wonderland advertised on a billboard. I thought, "Oh they'll have a few interesting rolls...probably something I've already seen a million times." But oh no. What I encountered instead was the mother load of Holiday ribbons, wrap, tissue paper, boxes etc. It was actually pretty overwhelming. But if at first you're overwhelmed just try going back 4 or 5 times. I know it did the trick for me.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Heads up

This is sort of neat. Art runs in the James Family. One of our YUPO artists George James sent Lynn an email saying that his daughter Anne (ok their daughter- George has a very cool wife, Isabel) is going to make her Law and Order SVU debut as Dr Jane tonight. She'll then be on again January 23. I normally don't watch SVU but this is more than reason enough to check it out. How cool!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanks Giving

Monday feels almost refreshing after a 4-day weekend. We are getting SNOW here in Oregon. Driving to work this morning I saw many many people looking really confused by the overnight accumulation on their windshields and roads.

I spent a good portion of the weekend testing portions of our new website. Creative Catalyst Productions will have a shiny new (and hopefully easily navigable) site up this Thursday. Fingers crossed. I now know every inch of the artists' pages intimately in that we had to comb through to make sure every last link actually goes somewhere. It makes me glad I'm not in web design. Now THAT is complicated work.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Craft Cat!

I've been pushing to do a CCP craft newsletter for some time now and I'm happy to say today Craft Cat Vol 1 went out. Both exciting and scary. I've learned more about Photoshop and InDesign in the past 72 hours than I care to admit.

Craft Cat will come out every other week although I'm finding that I think about it constantly. With all my after hours work on the project, I'm taking the rest of the day off and am going to go see what Bond can do as a blond. Woohoo!

Upstairs and Downstairs

Today the office seemed split. Upstairs Zach and I were on a rotating wheel of computer near disasters and muffled curses. Everything we were trying to do took twice as long. Downstairs Mom, Susan and her husband who came into help were moving twice or three times as fast working on getting out all the Ann Baldwin orders. I can barely contain my excitement that the Ann Baldwin DVD is finally going out. For a week I kept pestering Susan asking, "Is it coming today? Is it coming today?" And finally the big truck pulled up with the boxes and once again our supply room is brimming.

Upstairs = muffled cursing
Downstairs = unmuffled joke telling and general happiness

Thank goodness Zach's and my day ended with an email Susan forwarded from a customer in England. The customer wrote that she had just gotten her latest DVDs and had only intended to pop them in to see if they worked and ended up spending the whole day watching them. She's waiting for her Ann Baldwin. Probably one of the ones the Fantastic Three shipped off today. I almost want to email her back and ask her to let us know what she thinks about Baldwin. I admit that it really makes a difference getting emails like this. I have to remember this and start writing letters to the companies I appreciate. Because inevitably there is probably a girl somewhere praying her computer doesn't crash and erase everything who needs some nice words from the outside world.

(Update: Ann Baldwin now has a second Creative Catalyst DVD workshop:  Text & Texture in Mixed Media Collage)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Chihuahua Nation

CCP is somewhat of a cat sanctuary. Dogs have lived here but cats have a way of finding us. We’ve done midnight emergency vet runs when a stray appears injured on our door. Apparently our outside feeding is a big hit on the feline grape vine. Someday I’ll post a cat map of the yard for they have their own territories and everything. Eat lunch outside and it sort of feels like being on cat safari.

For the most part, things are peaceful among the inhabitants. That peace shattered Sunday as 2 3-lb yappy missiles sprinted across the driveway and into the house. Like a bowling ball hitting a strike. They shake. They snuggle. They are WHOLEY human dependent. They are the closest thing Lynn and Jim have to grandchildren. They are Ramsey and Hunter the Chihuahuas.

Chaos reigns for a solid week. Benjamin keeps to stools and desks while in the house but spends most of his day out in the offices making his annoyance known. Craft projects have all been raised above Hunter level and life as we know it will resume sometime next week when Jim and Lynn’s son and daughter-in-law return to claim their children. Until then, all of us at CCP are taking one big turn at dog sitting.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Gloria Day 3

I did my first Creative Catalyst Productions interview today. (!!!) I hope you won't be able to hear the cat snoring on my lap. Gloria's interview was not only fascinating but caused me to reflect on my own life and relationship to craft and art. I'll try to have excerpts in the upcoming being-created-as-we-speak craft newsletter. More on this later in that we drive Gloria to the airport early tomorrow morning (leaving at 5:45 am) where she heads back to her family frantically cleaning house and a garage to repair from baseball sized hail this last spring. It was great to have her here and not only did she leave us way to many fun things to experiment with, but hours and and HOURS of great footage. I'm currently finishing up Claudine and then back working with Sherri Haab. I'll keep you updated.

PS- Gloria and I talked about how she organizes her studio and you can see the physical space at her site here. (Move your mouse around the image at the top of the page)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Holy Moly Mackeroly

Gloria Page finished her second day of filming today and all I can say is GLORIOUS. Her use of design is phenomenal and she wields carving tools and cutting surfaces like the pro she is. I left the studio to run errands (ballot in the appropriate box…finally) and came back to Lynn hastening me upstairs. “You have to take a look at this stuff,” she says. I am not disappointed. We’re already discussing how we’ll kill three hours between bringing Gloria to her 9am flight (7am at airport) and when the Portland paper stores open. I think we’ll manage because these projects MUST BE TRIED. This is one of the major perks of my job.

The last few days have brought a bit of adventure to CCP. Day 1 of Gloria’s visit, someone who will remain unnamed got confused about the time change and set Gloria’s alarm clock ahead an hour. This would have only been so bad, but then Gloria came in after preparing her supplies, looked at the 1am reading on the clock and thought, “that can’t be right.” She went into the kitchen in search of the real time but that clock said 11pm. Her watch (broken) said 10pm. And her other clock said midnight. She went back into her room and decided to be safe she’d get herself up based on the latest one. The result? Gloria awoke and wondering where the rest of the troops were at 4am!!!

Day 1 excitement. Onto Day 2:

Day two was a different sort. Jim woke to a sound in the middle of the night. He thought it was nothing in that the rain has been POUNDING our doors and windows for the past few nights. When he went into the bathroom however, he found a waterfall cascading from the skylight into the bathroom below and threatening the floor/roof below. He sounded the troop (Lynn) and at 1:30am he had to set up a latter and brave the roof to clear what was ever blocking the drains. This is all still IN THE POURING RAIN. Meanwhile in the bathroom, Lynn is grabbing anything that can work as a towel and trying to clean up the gushing water before it drops through the level below.

To say the least: they didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night. We’re hoping for sound sleep tonight.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Gloria Page

Behind me in the studio we are setting up the stage for Gloria Page's workshop DVD. Very exciting! Gloria's work has been all over including Somerset Studio magazine and the Smithsonian. I'll be taking a break from editing Claudine to sit in and watch. More to come!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Oh, right, it's winter

At some point between yesterday and today, winter decided to start in Oregon. And it wasn't a subtle I-know-I'm-imposing-so-I'll-speak-softly kind of start. It was loud and it is by any measure, WET.

I'm balancing between potentially false hope ("Oh, this rain will just blow through. It'll be a crisp dry winter. Beautiful.") and resigning to the probably inevitable, ("I will smell and feel like a wet dog for the next 5-6 months. Awesome.")

How is it that the beauty of spring and summer can wipe all memory from us of the winters? Was it this cold last year? Did the rain feel this *wet*? All very profound questions yes. I think the answer though is the same. Paper. Markers. Tape...In short: crafts.

I need to prepare for winter by organizing my cupboards and keeping my hands and eyes busy with color. Be it paint or fabric or any other number of things for the months when we can't feel (dry) grass between our toes and sun on our faces.

I'll be setting my goals aloud here soon but first I need to go scrape tissue paper and wax off the kitchen table and pile into bed. I'm half way through editing Claudine Helmuth's latest video and I have a full day of inspiration ahead of me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Costume or Cocktail Carving Party!

It's been almost a week since our Halloween party. We put in some MAJOR hours and the result was a lot of fun. I have notes for next year although I probably should wait until about August to mention anything to those laborers.

The entire livingroom was COVERED in yarn. Jim's years as a Boy Scout really came in handy in webwork of a different kind than he does during the work week.

I should make a note here that Susan the Office Manager is REALLY scared of spiders. We didn't decide on spiders anywhere (even cute ones like the ones above) until she said that she and her husband were spending the weekend in Portland and would therefor miss the party. When we decided on spiders we went out and double checked that she couldn't make it before buying supplies.

We decided to leave Mr. Mummy in Susan's office chair Monday morning. It was that or the GIANT spider from the fireplace but we like Susan and well, you don't mess with the woman who makes sure you get your paycheck.

This was the best of the decorations. The tree is constructed of cardboard, chicken wire, tape, and hot glue. Real tree branches emerge and the leaves are wire and brown paper. My idea but not my labor. Great work from Lynn and Jim.

Both of these tables couldn't fit any more dishes by the time all the food had been set out. Zach did all the cooking. Neighbors and friends brought a few wonderful dishes but Zach really went above and beyond. The man can cook!