Thursday, March 31, 2011

Embrace the Camera: Remembering Disney

For today's Embrace the Camera, I chose one of my favorite photos from Disney World.  This was our first day, when we first entered Magic Kingdom.  Although, we were exhausted, we were beyond excited about our vacation and spending the week at Disney!  

I hope you all have a great Thursday!  This is a crazy and busy week for us, and I have lots of new exciting things to share...but that will have to be later!
xoxo, Dawn


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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

art talk Tuesday: Kay Dixon


I am thrilled to introduce today's artist, Kay Dixon.  


Name, age, hometown, blog/website
My name is Kay Dixon. I am a 37 year old living in rural Heidelberg, MS. My husband and I homeschool our three children. We enjoy the country life, keeping it simple, and finding joy in the everyday. If you care to find out more, my sadly neglected blog resides at smallwoodwonders.blogspot.com.


When did you first discover your creative talents? 
I have always felt creative. When I was small, I liked to do pencil drawings and make crafts. I took one drawing class in college and made a B. It was my first B, and I let that halt further focused artistic pursuits until I was pregnant with my first child. I decided I wanted to try scrapbooking. Soon into it, I got bored with the preprinted paper and stickers. I discovered that you could make your own paper...use fabric...use paint...use old books..inks..stitch. There is really no limit to what you can do or use. When I found mixed media, I loved the limitless possibilities it provides.

What inspires you and keeps you motivated to create? 
I get inspiration from everywhere. I really enjoy looking at other artists' works. Right now, I am into learning every technique I come across. If I am feeling stagnant, I like to look through some of my favorite mixed media magazines like Cloth Paper Scissors (http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/) or some of the Somerset publications (http://www.stampington.com/).  Also, browsing through Etsy is fun. But the computer is a black hole for time. I often find myself looking at other people's stuff when I should be using that time creating my own. Most of the art I do now is for myself. I love art journaling. In my journals I am free to try anything I want. There are no external requirements imposed on what I write or create there. I even consider it a therapeutic outlet. 

How would you describe your style?
I have pondered this question a lot. I don't feel I really have developed a style yet. I am always trying a diverse range of things. However, I notice other people tend to recognize something created by me right off. I am not sure if that is because there is a style there or if it is because I am just the chic who does the stuff with paper. My current all-consuming passions are book making and zines. Binding your own books....how cool is that? Zines are like micro-magazines that you publish yourself. It satisfies my need to communicate my musings and art on a grander scale.

Who are some people that have inspired your work? 
I am so blessed to be inspired by some great artists that I actually know. I would say my best motivator and inspirator is Martha Crouser. She and I have arted together over the last few years, and she has been a great encouragement to me. I have been fortunate enough to have Adam Trest (http://adamtrest.com/) as an art instructor. His direction and encouragement have really given me confidence in my art that I lacked before. I belong to a talented group of ladies and gents where we create, swap, and inspire each other. We are scattered all over the US, so we keep in contact through a Yahoo Group called Project Pedros (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/projectpedros/).

These folks are a big motivator for me to keep creating and learning new things. Most importantly, my husband is an endless source of encouragement. Not only does he allow me to take classes and gather supplies, but he has been known to do a monkey dance in front of the kids to distract them long enough for me to glue something down or sew something together.


What is something funny that's happened to you recently? 
Quite frankly, we are a hoot around here. When do four year olds and a six year old not do or say something funny? To top it off, my husband is the absolute funniest man I know. I will try to give you some highlights from this past week. I drove around for about an hour lost in the county I have spent the better part of my life in. Yes, this is actually VERY funny. My little boy was impressed how much a plate looked like a frisbee, so he threw it across the room to see if it would fly. Turns out it will fly fine, but it isn't so good at landings. I gave my youngest girl some stale bread to feed to our goats. After ten minutes when she hadn't returned, I checked on her to find her eating the bread and feeding the crust to the goats.


How do you bridge the gap between creating and running a business? 
Running a business at this point in my life isn't something I am really focused on. I have sold a few things, but I am not putting any effort into marketing at this point. Now my art is about me, my family, and my friends. It is all about the joy of learning, creating, and sharing. There isn't a large monetary return on that investment, but I would rather be paid in joy any day.
Describe yourself in 5 words. 
Caring.
Zany.
Obsessive.
Artistic.
Generous.
Any advice for aspiring artists/designers? 
I got a ton. Advice is easy to give. Following your own or others, that's where the hard part comes in. But, I think these gems would be worth your effort. Don't think that your art isn't good enough. If you are making it, it is important. Your art is uniquely you. That, in itself, is cause for celebration. I used to say "I won't like doing that" or "That doesn't interest me." I don't say that anymore. I have tried a few things outside my comfort zone and was surprised at how much I enjoyed myself. In art, every little thing you learn, you will either use again or it
will lead you to something new. Your art is important. Life has a way of taking up all your time with necessities and distractions. But, your art is something only you can create. Make the time to do it. To create, you don't need long stretches of uninterrupted time. I have three kids at home. We haven't experienced a 20 minute quiet spell in this house in 7 years. One thing I do to help me get things accomplished is keep a journal with me at all times. I have one that
travels in my purse with me everywhere I go. It has collage, paintings, poetry, stories, and dear diary entries. It is a catchall for whatever is on my mind while I am waiting for my oil change or at the doctor's office. Another biggie in the advice department is to connect with other artists.  There are boocoodles of art clubs and groups on-line. Ask around locally. In my area, we have Laurel Underground Arts (http://laurelundergroundarts.wordpress.com/). It is great getting to meet with such a diverse group of local artists. You can learn a lot from one another. Plus, it is just nice to nerd out with fellow artists about something you are passionate about. If you can follow those tidbits today, you are well ahead of where I was just a couple of years ago. Now you need to write me, and share your truisms!

  *****

Thank you for sharing, Kay!  I loved reading your interview and getting to know a little bit about your art journey!  

Kay has offered to give away a few of her newly created zines to a few of my readers!  Just leave a comment here, and I will randomly choose the winners next Monday!!!
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Monday, March 28, 2011

weekend in photos





This weekend we were kid free...something that doesn't happen very often.  We enjoyed it by riding bikes to have breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, IHOP :)...seriously, I love those blueberry nut grain pancakes, going to a downtown festival to hear some good music, eat roasted corn, and drink strawberry lemonade, and bowling 70's style.  It really was a very relaxing weekend.  We sure were glad to get our girl back, though!


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Embrace the Camera, folks!

It's Embrace the camera Day!

I'm not sure if I've ever explained this here, but Embrace the camera is all about YOU getting in front of the camera with your loved ones.  If you're like me, I'm usually the one taking the pictures and not in them.  This is a great way to leave photos for those that love us most :)  So, go embrace the camera today!

I link up here!



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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Busy Days.


Lately, it seems like I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  I started my new job last week, which obviously has thrown my entire schedule off... even though I only work two days a week :)  For example, Monday, I completely forgot about a meeting I was supposed to attend until 10 minutes before it started. Then yesterday, I realized I had not mailed a package that was ordered last Friday....I don't know what's gotten into me.  The sad part is, I really use my planner.  I write everything down, but sadly, forget to look at my planner.  I've taken to writing lists on my hand (thank you, Steph.)  If anyone has a better idea I am all ears!

Here's a little playlist of songs I can't get enough of!  Happy Wednesday!
xo, Dawn


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

art talk Tuesday: Erin Napier


Today I have a special treat for you guys!  Erin Napier of Lucky Luxe is here for art talk.  All of you aspiring artists take out your pen and paper; this girl has got it figured out :)  ...and, she just happens to be one of the sweetest girls I know.

1. Name, age, hometown, blog/website
I'm Erin Napier, a 25 year-old wedding stationer from little ole Laurel, Mississippi (lucky-luxe.com, erinnapier.blogspot.com).


2.When did you first discover your creative talents?

I was very young. As a little girl my mama did these beautiful paintings and we would do all kinds of arts and crafts projects together. From painting to macrame, we were making things every day at my little craft table in the living room. My aunt Mae Mae showed me how to make scrapbooks when I was 7 years old, too. She would get me to draw the U.S. presidents and all my favorite Disney characters. She framed them and hung them on the walls. I had a pretty wild imagination. I wanted to be a mascot when I grew up so I could always wear costumes! In junior high school, I sold my first painting for $75 and I thought, "Well... Maybe there's something to this art thing."


3. What inspires you and keeps you motivated to create?

Vintage ephemera, textiles and books are huge influences on my work. Anytime a bride gives me free reign to design whatever I want, I feel a very real inspiration. It takes over and I just try to keep up with where it's going.


4. How would you describe your style?

Vintage, nostalgic, of course. So many people love vintage design for a reason—it transcends time and style. I think people wish for a simpler way of life and my work is intended to conjure the memory of that time and place.

5. Who are some people that have inspired your work?

I'm very inspired by the postcards of Curt Teich & Co., lettering by Jessica Hische, really beautiful calligraphy (my friend Holly Wilson is one of the best calligraphers ever—her work is crazy inspiring), the branding & design of Louise Fili, vintage botanical encyclopedias with those beautiful engravings. Most of all, my brides and grooms inspire my work. The sweet and funny stories, the crazy meetings, those things make the kind of personalized design that nothing else could. When a bride told me she and her fiance both have starring roles in the musical Wicked, that he proposed on stage, I see opera house playbills for the invitation. It's a fun job, and I'm so blessed to have it.



6. What is something funny that's happened to you recently?
A sweet lady from our church gave my husband Ben a pair of size large silk pajamas with a really cool vintage print because she felt like they might fit him. Ben is a burly, bearded 6'6" and 300 pounds. He tried them on. He danced to James Brown. They didn't fit. Not even close.




7. How do you bridge the gap between creating and running a business?

To me, without work ethic, your art is useless. I think running the business and being creative for my business are one in the same. A disheartening thing I've seen in some artists is a lack of work ethic. You really can't make it as a self-employed artist without it. I'm definitely no expert in business, but I know learning all I can about it will make me a smarter, better artist.

8. Describe yourself in 5 words.

Nostalgic. Ambitious. Childish. Confident. Self-conscious.


9. Any advice for aspiring artists/designers?

A few things:

1. You will always continue to get better if you continue to create. I thought I was at the top of my game in college, but now I can see that I was just beginning. I'm afraid to know what's possible in 5 or 10 more years. Who knows?

2. If you can find that one thing that makes you different from everyone else, that one product no one else can offer, that's all it takes. One niche market is all the market you need.

3. Learn all you can from the artists that inspire you. They have great advice if you just ask them (if they're alive... Van Gogh would be hard to get a hold of).

*******

Thank you, Erin!  I absolutely loved reading your interview.

Take a minute to check out Erin's blog (a personal favorite of mine) ...and, for heaven's sake, if you can think of a reason to need invitations or stationary, you won't find anything more beautiful.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

weekend in photos: the lake

 this is not our truck, but oh I wish it was...such a beauty...




No, he didn't eat it, but this is a little too close for comfort for me.

Anne felt a little sick....


...nothing a little ice cold ginger ale can't cure, though.

This weekend was super busy, but we found time for a few hours for of relaxation....we could not have asked for more perfect weather :)


I'll be back tomorrow to feature a good friend in our Art Talk Tuesday...You won't want to miss it!
xo, Dawn
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

embrace the camera #2

Today I am thankful...
..for my patient husband
..for our energetic, loving daughter
..for a family that is always willing to help
..for a God that loves me even when I'm unloveable
..for amazing friends to share life with

 We took this photo last weekend during the wedding festivities.  I loved this day.  We spent time playing at the beach, lounging in the hotel, then got to hang out with sweet family.





Have a lovely St. Patty's Day!
xo, Dawn


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

new job


Today is the first day of my new job!

I'm excited and a little nervous.

Wish me luck!!!

I'm not sure of my official title yet, but basically I'm the marketing girl :)

Here's our website if you'd like to check it out!

have a great day!
xo, Dawn
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

art talk Tuesday: Christin Morgan


When did you first discover your creative talents?
One day in Kindergarten I saw two boys drawing some race cars and very much wanted to impress them (a flirt at such a young age!). That night I went home and drew a car of my own. When I returned to school the next day I proudly presented my ‘work’. Unfortunately they dismissed it as a drawing my dad had done (it was me I promise!), but from that moment on I had a sneaking suspicion that I was good at art. Sadly, I’m still a bad flirt.
 


What inspires you and keeps you motivated to create?
My motivation stems from a lack of production. When I’m not making something, drawing something, etc., I don’t feel like myself and quickly get cranky, uptight, and fairly intolerable.  Art has always been very therapeutic for me and instrumental in keeping my friendships. :)

 How would you describe your style?
I have two. One is polished and controlled and the other is messy and emotional. They both pour out of me in equal quantities. My public facing art is currently of the polished and controlled style.
 

Who are some people that have inspired your work?
God, various clothing designers, and Jonathan Adler
 
What is something funny that's happened to you recently?
I recently quit a stable job, in a recession, to focus all of my attention on being an artist. Every time I think about that I start laughing.
 
How do you bridge the gap between creating and running a business?
Excel Spreadsheets & some business savvy friends.
 


Describe yourself in 5 words.
Resilient
Quirky
Thoughtful
Creative
Messy
 
Any advice for aspiring artists/designers?
 “Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.” – Henry Ford



I fell in love with Christin's work not long after I got started on etsy.  Her creations are so fun and create a sense of pride for my state and country.  Thank you for sharing, Christin!


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