Jun 30, 2010

ILoveToCreate Patriotic Flip-Flops!


ILoveToCreate
Patriotic Flip-Flops
Copyright Margot Potter
"Mom crafted, kid approved."

Who doesn't like to feel patriotic without feeling like a dork? Teens, that's who! I'm a fan of seasonal accessories as long as you don't start too look like someone on The People of WalMart blog. It's a fine line, people. These festive flip-flops are the perfect combination of '4th of July festive' and 'fashionista friendly.' They can be modified to suit the rest of the summer months with a little color change, so don't feel like they're only good for one day. Though for me, being patriotic isn't a one day event. Your teens will have a blast making these. Avalon pounced on them before the glue was even dry. I guess I'll have to make my own pair before the holiday!



Materials
Rubber Flip-Flops (I got my classic pair at Target)
3/10" wide navy blue ribbon with white stitching
1/4" wide dark red rick rack trim
2" wooden craft stars
2 silver-plated head pins or 20 gauge silver-plated craft wire
Aleene's Liquid Fusion Glue
Aleene's Jewelry and Metal Glue
Tulip Fashion Graffiti Big Phat fabric marker blue
Crafty Chica Little Chica Paint Pack paint white
8492-L Dawn Hauser Star rubber stamp from Inkadinkado
Elasticity clear stretch elastic cord

Tools
Brayer
Round nose pliers
Flush cutters
Non stick craft sheet
Electric drill with 1/16" bit



1. Use fabric marker to color star top and sides blue. Allow to dry.



2. Use brayer or foam applicator to spread paint on a non-stick sheet or directly on surface of stamp. Test print. Stamp on the stars. Allow to dry.


3. Glue blue ribbon trim to center of flip flop straps, starting at the bottom of the strap, tucking the ribbon into the space at the bottom and working your way to the center. It doesn't have to be pretty, the stars will cover it.


4. Glue rick-rack trim to center of blue ribbon again starting at the bottom of each strap, tucking the ribbon in and working to the front. Allow to dry.

5. Drill a hole in the center of each star.

6. Wrap rick rack trim around three times to create a 1 3/4" ribbon shape. There should be two loops on each ribbon.



7. Make a large loop at the top of a head pin, thread the center of your ribbon into the loop and secure it with the chain nose pliers. Thread this into the center of the star.


8. Use round nose pliers to create a loop flush to the back of each star, cut off excess wire before looping. The wire should be approximately 1/4" long before you grasp it with your round nose pliers at the end and wrap it around the jaw creating a round loop. Make sure the loop is secured closed.

9. Thread a 2.5" segment of Elasticity into the loop at the back of the star and around the front end of one side of the strap on your flip-flop. Tie it into a double knot (follow link for image.) Dab the knot with some jeweler's glue. Repeat for the other side of the same strap to secure the star. Repeat for second flip flop. Allow glue to dry before wearing flip-flops.

Jun 28, 2010

Ah, Gigi!


Cecil Beaton's Scrapbook

As you may have ascertained by the cryptic posts here at Blog Madge...things have been up in the air around here. I'm not a fan of being up in the air, unless I'm on my way to an exotic destination.

This unsettling feeling of uncertainty has had my stomach in giant knots and my stress level at Code Red. Saturday afternoon I hit the wall. I was enjoying the lovely picturesque Amish country scenery when my Amish neighbors decided to light a pile of garbage on fire. When they burn garbage, they burn plastic, packaging...literally all of their trash. It's baffling to me and for an asthmatic, it means a hasty retreat indoors. "Dahling I love you, but give me Park Avenue." And so, gentle reader, that was it, I simply couldn't keep coming up with shiny, happy platitudes to cheer myself up. I sat my fancy arse in our comfy couch in the Zen TV room and I turned on the boob tube and had a good cry.

After a fascinating hour of Antiques Roadshow on PBS I turned to my lovely daughter and said, "We need to watch a wonderful old Hollywood musical." To which she responded, "Haven't I already seen them all?" GASP! HORROR! "Absolument non, mon petit chou!" With that an announcer appeared on the screen to inform us that up next was a commercial free airing of...

Gigi!

Leslie Caron in Gigi in an Oscar winning costume designed by Cecil Beaton

You have to love instant visualization.

Sketch of Costume for Gigi by Cecil Beaton

And you have to love Gigi. The costumes, the sets, the beautiful Leslie Caron and the charming Louis Jourdan and Maurice Chevalier. Just what I needed to escape...

The final scene arrived and there was the gorgeously gamine Gigi in the most deliciously draped white satin dress with dimensional blackbird accents and a tiara that consisted of a single crescent moon encrusted with crystal...and I literally cried I was so happy. That dress, that tiara, those gloves...oh my! It was as if someone, somewhere knew just what I needed to lift me out of my funk.

Thank you, Cecil Beaton.

Love
Madge

Cecil Beaton

Jun 26, 2010

TastyLinks Saturday

Up, Up and Away Copyright 2010 Margot Potter-All Rights Reserved

This is a design I recently created for Beadalon to showcase their fabulous new Kink Free Ti Titanium Wire and some lovely SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS in rose and black diamond with lots of gun metal accents. The Ti wire has amazing resistance, which lends itself to maintaining all sorts of interesting shapes. This is a play on the circle theme I've been exploring for the past few years with a twist...literally! Follow this link for the instructions.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Repeat.

I am at a crossroads here and it's a doozy. Your plucky heroine has to face some formidable challenges and although she knows that no matter how it all pans out, good things are always on the horizon, it's hard not to feel the significant weight of what lies ahead.

On the other hand, it's just another pebble in the road of life. I'd just prefer it weren't currently wedged in my flip flop. Paging Jimmy Buffett...

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly." Richard Bach

Life is change and stability, it is ebb and flow, it is release and it is resistance and in the Tao it is all the same.

So whilst I ponder the task at hand, feel free to peruse this week's sampling of TastyLinks™ from The Crafty Blogger Gang. "We've got glue guns and we're not afraid to use them.™"

First a little bloggy shout out to the DaliciUus™ Fernando DaSilva for stopping by with a huge box of beady goodies last Sunday to help with my new book. Thank you, Nando and Wyatt!

About Family Crafts
Read through Sherri's tie-dye tutorial and you will discover how easy it is to create your own colorful, tie-dyed t-shirts and more.

Aileen's Musings
Watch Aileen's newest video and see how she transforms a boring canvas bag into a snazzy colorful tote!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi uses the sweetest bird embellishments to make a card set.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside's got a chance to win a copy of Jennifer Worick's Simple Gifts and how-to's on making a silhouette, a homemade flea collar for your dog, stringing rings onto a ribbon necklace and a fun video interview with Drew Brophy the author of How to Draw with Drew Brophy.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy is hitting the school books again but takes a moment to review her summer crafting and other accomplishments.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Have you ever felt like the 'red headed step child?'

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi has gathered up all her favorite collage and quilt techniques to share.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Green Ring and wire earrings inspired by the book 101 Wire Earrings by Denise Peck

The Artful Crafter
How to make a wooden country critter wall plaque.

The Crochet Dude
Get out your hooks and warm them up because Drew reveals all the projects from his upcoming book "Crochet It Love It Wear It - The Ultimate Collection for Every Occasion". You are not going to believe how gorgeous crochet can be!

Jun 25, 2010

Write Yourself a Happy Ending

Image Copyright Enoch Bolles

I have many times been on my pretty horse going around the carousel preparing for that moment when I will reach out and grab the brass ring, and just as I grab it and have it in my hand for a fleeting moment of unfettered joy, it falls.

Which leads me to wonder, is it better to have had that ring or the promise of that ring than it is to get the plastic one?

One wonders, doesn't one?

Every choice we make has ripples that move outward into the universe. Some ripples create brass ring moments and others create the opposite. Sometimes something we set in motion takes years to wash up on the shore. I've come to a point where I realize that if something feels really wrong, even if it's something I think we really need to survive, it's probably a good idea to put it back on the shelf. A brass ring isn't worth much anyway. I am now, resolutely, deciding this.

Here's the thing. Though some folks might tell you differently, nothing good ever comes from moving from desperation. Even if you're down to your last penny and the landlord is twirling his mustache with a menacing glint in his eye and your cupboard is so bare there isn't even a cockroach who'd hang out there...even then...if you move from desperation and lack, you will reap more of the same. If you offer the landlord your dignity in exchange for another week's rent, you lose. You see because that's how you are perceiving yourself and your worth, that's how people get swept up in really bad movies. They simply don't see themselves as being worthy of the opposite of desperation. You are worth far, far more than one week's rent. Trust me.

That is the hardest lesson I've had to learn in this lifetime. I've been so far down, so desperate, so hungry that I have on multiple occasions made a decision that felt really wrong but concurrently felt necessary for survival. It's hard to keep faith when you're digging around in the couch cushions for change. I have signed on the dotted line and lived to regret it. Deeply. I have been swayed by the shiny promise of something in a pretty package that turned out to be an empty box.

My advice, both to myself and to you, gentle reader, is to remember that you have immense and incalculable value. Inside of you lies infinite potential. You are extraordinary. You are a uniquely fantastic creation. You deserve joy and success and love.

Do you know that part in the movie when the hero has survived their trials and everything is finally happy and sunny and little cartoon blue birds are singing and the music starts to change? You think, "Oh heck, something bad is about to happen" and then it happens and you think, "Oh no! It can't end like this, can it?"

As long as you're still breathing, it doesn't have to.

If you're feeling like the plucky heroine who is facing the giant demon with a small safety pin and a crap load of moxie, trust that you can prevail. You can triumph, you can seize joy.

Get out your pen and write yourself a happy ending.

Love
Madge

Jun 24, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake


Avalon at Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken

We took a quick day trip to NYC yesterday for a bead buy and a side trip to Hoboken. I've never been to Hoboken New Jersey, but Avalon is obsessed with The Cake Boss and when she heard NYC, she requested Hoboken on the side! Ya gotta love a gal who knows what she wants! Hoboken is just on the other side of the Hudson River, so it's the first exit out of the Holland Tunnel, which is on our way home. I've always wanted to go there, and who doesn't love cake?!

We intended to leave early, but as usual we left later than we intended, oh for more hands! It all worked out in terms of traffic with just a few snaggles in Manhattan. Thankfully, my husband did the driving. I have no patience, have I mentioned that?


My Bead Score and Text from Avalon's Card for Buddy

I scored a pile of vibrantly colored and inexpensive beads and a single strand of rhodochrosite I simply could not resist. I rarely buy beads just for me, which is silly considering how many beads I own, but sometimes I find a strand that beckons...

Rhodochrosite...yummy.

Avalon spent all day on Tuesday making a die cut pop up 3-d cake card...twice. There was some serious drama around Studio Madge that day on top of the card making meltdown, so our delicious dinner that evening at The Blue Pear was well earned! Avalon wanted to give the card to the Cake Boss, but we knew Buddy was going to be away. When we drove into Hoboken there was a huge line out in front of the shop. They had cops out front and a door person! I can't believe they can keep up with the volume!

We decided to have lunch first to gear up for a long wait in the 90 degree weather, but by the time we finished eating and got to the bakery the line was thankfully gone. I didn't get a pic of the card, sorry, but once we got there and I saw Buddy's sister Mary at the end of the counter Avalon got a little freaked out. So I gave Mary the card. Frankie came down stairs while I was waiting to speak to Mary, which was pretty cool. Mary ended up down at our end of the bakery counter later. You would have thought she was one of the Beatles, Avalon was so excited! She was busy with a customer, so we didn't get a picture of her. We got them to put Avalon's name on her lovely and expensive fondant covered cake and we headed home. I'm happy to report that the cake tastes as good as it looks! They don't call Buddy The Cake Boss for nothing!

A Most Awesome Avalon Cake from Carlo's Bakery

Hoboken is a charming city, if you go to NYC, I highly suggest a side trip. You'll be really glad you took it! More pics to peruse below...enjoy!

xoxo
Madge


Carlo's Bakery

Avalon and Mom at Carlo's Bakery

Avalon and Dad at Carlo's Bakery

Please Don't Feed the Bead Dog

Fab Octopus Ring Madge Could Not Resist

If You Can't Spell 'Checks', You Can't Cash Mine

Jun 23, 2010

ILoveToCreate Teen Crafts: Super Star Sneakers




ILovetoCreate Teen Crafts
Super Star Sneakers
Guest Crafter Avalon Potter for Margot Potter
“Kid crafted, mom approved.”



The problem with most kid and teen craft projects is that they’re created by adults. We’d like to think that we can still look back at our wild youth and know what it’s like to be a teen, and on some levels, we can, but we’re viewing through an adult lens. I love to see what happens when the adults step back and let the kids create.

You know what?

They really kick some crafty butt!

They have fewer filters, less of a need to please and they just do what they like. I bought a grey pair of Converse All Stars a while back with the intention of tricking them out for this column, but I got busy with other ideas and in the meantime Avalon wore the sneakers. So they were no longer pristine and new...which is how she likes them.

She asked if she could create the teen craft project for today and I said, “YES!” So these fabulous sneakers are 100% Avalon. She used a variety of Tulip Graffiti products and some Tulip Glam it Up crystals to make a really rockin’ pair of shoes. Go Avalon! I think if adults can give kids more room for creativity, they’ll always surprise us.

Materials
Low top tennis shoes
Tulip Fashion Graffiti Big Phat Fabric Markers in Pink and Black
Tulip Fashion Graffiti stencil in chain link fence pattern
Tulip Fashion Graffiti stencil puffy graffiti letters
43 Glam it Up iron on crystals in crystal
Tulip 3-D fashion paint in silver
Toothpick with beeswax on end or tweezers
Non stick sheet or newspaper

1. Select your shoes and remove the laces.



2. Use the pink marker to stencil on one side of each shoe with the chain link fence pattern. Stencil in black on the opposite side.

3. Use the letter stencil and the silver dimensional paint to add your initials to one side of each shoe.



4. Freehand hearts, peace signs and butterflies using the dimensional paint.

5. Use the markers to color your shoe laces, one pink and one black.


6. Add crystal accents on both sides of shoe using the applicator and add 6 crystals to the back seam on each shoe. Be careful, it gets really hot!

7. Use glue to attach a crystal smiley face to the toes of the shoes. Dip the crystal into the glue carefully using a toothpick with beeswax or tweezers to hold the crystal and then attach to the shoe. Wipe off excess glue and allow to dry.

Jun 22, 2010

Our Regularly Scheduled Program Has Been Moved

Sneak Peek...Shhhh...


My regularly scheduled Teen Craft post for ILoveToCreate has been permanently moved to Wednesdays. Please mark your calendars accordingly. Don't forget to tune in tomorrow when guest crafter and teen style expert Avalon Potter shares her super deluxe tricked out Converse All Stars low tops using Tulip Fashion Graffiti products and Glam it up crystals!

I've got six more core projects to create for the new book and then I have to make 15 variations. I've been working on the tedious and dreaded instructions in between projects so I can get ahead of the curve. These designs are complex and navigating the instructions has proved frustrating. Making a book is an absurd amount of work. It's an almost overwhelming task making design prototypes and fine tuning them, writing instructions, creating romance copy, planning the front material, preparing samples for the step by step photo shoot. I think it's fascinating when people leave snarky reviews dismissing a book you've created. If they had any idea how much blood, sweat and tears go into making a book, perhaps they'd think twice before being so lame. But you know, it's far easier to sit on your fanny and criticize others than it is to put yourself out there for scrutiny. I always ask them to feel free to show me their book when it comes out...har har. Those who can, do. Those who can't, become critics. Though to add a caveat, a good critic who can write a well constructed and thoughtful criticism, is a rare creature and one to be respected.

Lots of straw to spin here, so I must away! I'll be back tomorrow!

Love
Madge

Jun 21, 2010

Red Headed Step Child

Image from Mermaids Dover Books

I may have red hair (sometimes) and I may love fairy tales, but I don't love feeling like the red headed step child. And who does, really?

One of the toughest things in life is being unappreciated, especially when you work really hard and do quality work. The thing is, it happens. It happens a lot. Creativity is one of those things that isn't understood by folks who are not creative. It's subjective. Often you'll sit and scratch your head as people who really don't seem to deserve it, get showered with attention and your great ideas are patently ignored.

People are often easily impressed by fancy tricks, because let's face it, fancy tricks are impressive. At least until you figure out how they're done.

I'm not here to show folks how to do parlor tricks, I'm here to share the power of creativity with the people who feel they can't be creative because 'they aren't artists' and 'they don't have time'. I'd rather see those people make something their own, than see them copy something I've made. Anyone can make a hook rug, but how many people can design their own hook rug?

That's interesting to me.

When what you do isn't a fancy trick, because it's more subtle and understated, it's inevitable that not everyone is going to get what you're throwing down. The key is to surround yourself with people who do get it and to get away from people who do not. Being around people who treat you with indifference is soul sucking. Surround yourself with people who celebrate you and then celebrate them back. You deserve it. I deserve it. They deserve it. We all deserve to be cherished.

Anything less than that is unacceptable.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

Love
Madge

Jun 19, 2010

Fare Thee Well, My Bright Star



"I felt his heart beating like the heart of a dying bird, shot with someone’s rifle…

"All men have the stars," he answered, "but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all the stars are silent. You--you alone--will have the stars as no one else has them--"

“I shall look as if I were suffering. I shall look a little as if I were dying. It is like that. Do not come to see that. It is not worth the trouble…"

He fell as gently as a tree falls. There was not even any sound, because of the sand."
from The Little Prince

This past week my boss and my friend, Dane Hall, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. The world lost someone amazing yesterday. There are people you meet who leave an indelible impression. They are the kind of people who literally light up a room. They possess a positivity and enthusiasm that are infectious in the best way possible. Dane was one of those people. He took time on multiple occasions to not just email me a response to a question, but to call and have an in depth conversation on the phone. He championed me, fought for me and made me feel like I mattered and he did that for every single person on his team. Every one who knew him would tell you the same thing, he was inspirational. We talk a lot about life being short, but it's easy to give that lip service and get caught up in our own day to day bullshit and drama. When something like this happens, it's a wake up call.

What we do really isn't important in the final analysis, how we loved and were loved in return is what matters.

By all accounts, Dane Hall was the wealthiest man I've ever met.

"Fare thee well, my bright star." The Indigo Girls

And on that note, make sure you tell the people whom you love that you love them today. Give them a big hug and remember that this life is, as my mother often says, but a split second in eternity. Cherish it.

When faced with chaos, I find solace in creativity. It is, after all, the opposite of destruction. So here's what the Crafty Bloggers have for your inspiration:

The Artful Crafter
Join Eileen in June’s June “Let Them Eat Cake” creativity challenge and get a free cupcake. Sweet!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
How to make coffin shaped cupcakes inspired by the book Kids' Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi shares some thoughts on her recent foray into self-publishing.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Tell Dad how much he rocks this Father's Day or on his birthday with this fun and easy to make card from Madge for ILoveToCreate!

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy has listed the first few kits in her jewelry making kit collection, some awesome Raku earrings.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside has a chance to win one of 50 "Bulking Dummies" and a "Lab" book, a new Look, Learn and Create Video with Tracie Lyn Huskamp showing us how to make a Nature Inspired Mixed Media card, some pencil drawing and illuminated art techniques and an interview with Nancy Langdon.

Cathie Filian
You can dye stripes and it is easy! Cathie shows you how.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi takes a Twilight cotton bag up a notch!

Aileen's Musings
Need a new recipe for all the zucchini your growing? Download Aileen's printable recipe card, and baking some yummy Zucchini Cheddar Cheese Bread!

About Family Crafts
Be prepared for the next time you hear "I'm bored" from your kids... Bookmark this collection of fast and simple 10-minute crafts for kids!

Jun 17, 2010

I Got the Golden Ticket!

(Please Mentally Insert Whimsical Image of Willy Wonka and Charlie Here.
Lord Blogger is not uploading my pictures today.)

There are big, crazy, amazing things going on in my world right now. They are so big, so crazy and so fabulous that I'm finding it hard to digest them. They are so big, so crazy and so fabulous that I don't have time to keep trying to upload a picture for this post. It's like getting the keys to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory! That's about how it feels for me right now. Seriously.

For years I've been working towards something that has recently unfolded with such complete and total serendipity that it's proof positive that visualizing and working hard will pay off. I surely didn't know this was where it was all heading, but everything, even the toughest things, have all come together now and I can look back and see that it all makes perfect sense.

It may not come at the time you expected it and it may not be exactly what you expected, but if you keep dreaming big and building something with vision and passion and blood, sweat and tears...and if you follow the signs along the way, can be flexible and bend with the changes presented to you and you're willing to take an occasional side trip...well one day, without warning it all just happens.

Huzzah!

"Willy Wonka: But Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted.
Charlie Bucket: What happened?
Willy Wonka: He lived happily ever after."

I can't tell anyone a bloody thing yet...but soon...soon! Stay tuned and please be patient because I'm going to be a little busy from here on out, so the blog she may be a little less frequent. I'm shooting for three posts a week. We'll see how that goes!

Love
Madge

Jun 15, 2010

ILoveToCreate Teen Crafts: My Dad Rocks Father's Day Card


ILoveToCreate Teen Crafts
My Dad Rocks Father's Day Card
Margot Potter
"Mom crafted, kid approved."

School's out for summer around these parts and Father's Day is coming up fast. Where does the time go?! Phew! Here's a great "I'm bored" project for your teens to do that will rock Dad's socks off on his special day. The cost of store bought cards has skyrocketed, this gives Dad a personalized work of art for a fraction of the price of a generic card from the grocery store. Ya gotta love it!


Materials
8.5"x11" card stock in turquoise and acid green
Rock Star stack or similar themed papers
Printed phrase "My Dad Rocks" using Jellyka Castle's Queen Font in 48pt. from www.daFont
Vintage paper (we used an old typing manual)
7 Gypsies numbered gaffer's tape
Scrapbook Adhesives three dimensional stickers
Aleene's original Tacky Glue or Tacky Glue Stick
Tulip Fashion Graffiti Big Phat fabric marker in black
Tulip Fashion Graffiti Paint Cannon fabric paint in black

Tools
Fiskars 2" circle punch
Scissors
Bone folder
Paper cutter

1. Print phrase.

2. Fold blue card stock in half and use bone folder to sharpen crease. Cut folded paper to 6.5w" on a paper cutter.

3. Cut green card stock to a 2"wx5"l. Cut paper with phrase to 1.5"x4.5"l. Adhere phrase to card stock using a VERY thin layer of glue. Allow to dry.

4. Punch circles. I featured the skull and some nautical stars.

5. Hand cut recycled paper circles so they are slightly larger than the punched circles.

6. Use marker and stencil to put chain link pattern across card diagonally from top left to bottom right, you will have to slide the stencil overlapping it to get the full coverage.

7. Use a paintbrush to drip black paint cannon paint on front of card. Use a stylus or other pointed tool to scratch the ink around. Allow ink to drip. Layer this as much as you like, but be mindful that this ink will create texture in the card, so less is more.

8. Adhere circles using a thin layer of Tacky Glue or Tacky Glue stick. The recycled circles first followed by your punched circles set off center, they need to be about 1.75" apart in the center to allow room for the phrase.

9. Attach gaffer's tape to left edge of card.

10. Use dimensional stickers to add phrase to front of card in between the circles on an angle pointing from upper left to lower right corners.

Jun 14, 2010

Color Outside of the Lines

Image from Full Color Old Time Label Art by Dover Books

I got the most lovely comment from Liss C here yesterday:

"This is unrelated to this post, but I needed a space to post you a li'l note. Just wanted to say "THANK YOU!" I have probably 30 or so jewelry books now, and a zillion magazines. Yours however, was the very first I bought, quickly followed by the 2nd book I ever bought. And of course as soon as your third came out, I jumped all over it.

I learned so much from your books. Although I don't have the same style as you do, I love your think outside the box technique and that is very inspiring. And the way you wrote in a girl friend tone, versus a boring text book reading made it fun too!

My niece became interested in beading last year, she is 12, and of course, I went right out and bought her your books. So again, THANK YOU!

Have a fantastic day! "

Thank you, Liss! This is why I do what I do. I know I'm not reinventing the wheel. My work is about inspiring people who long to be creative to take that first step. I'm here to guide them as they tip toe gently into basic jewelry making, wire working and mixed media and then I want to inspire them to add their own unique personality and flair into the mix.

So when I get a comment or an email like this, I know that I have achieved my objective, especially when I see that love of creativity being handed down to the next generation. I could write complicated books about complicated techniques...but I don't want to preach to the choir and I really don't want to write those books. There are plenty of folks out there to write them. I want to inspire the folks who have lived their lives thinking that they aren't an artist because some weenie told them so somewhere along the way to let go of that dialog and write a new one.

I try to inject a sense of fun and to show the seams, because I try not to take myself or my work too seriously. Let's face it people, crafting isn't rocket science. Creativity though, has the power to change everything down to the molecular level. That's some good stuff to ponder.

Make glorious messes! Color outside of the lines! Create without filters! Don't worry about the result, art is about the experience of creativity. The artwork is merely the residue of the creative experience.

Love
Madge

Jun 12, 2010

Saturday TastyLinks!


Oh it's time again, yes once again, for your Linky Love shower! Break out those slickers and throw on your wellies!

I'm not feeling very chatty today, which is a rare occasion, so savor it while it lasts, people. A big crafty welcome to the delightful and talented Carmi Cimicata. You're going to love her! Do enjoy this week's craftacular linksplosion from "The Crafty Bloggers: We've got glue guns and we're not afraid to use them." (tm)

The Artful Crafter
Artist profile of June Crawford, “A Creative Dreamer” who crafts her dreams with words, charming art dolls and fantastical doodles – among other things. Take a peek into another artist’s creative world.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Silver French knot sunburst embellished tote using the pattern in Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts

Mixed Media Artist
What can you do with some vintage sheet music, fabric, and a photo transfer?

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Madge has a new DIY Website! Come read all about it and check it out!

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy is spilling some of the beans concerning a new project she's working on - jewelry making kits!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside's got a tutorial on how to print on tissue paper from the book Creative Wildfire and a chance to win a copy of it, a super cute tutorial on how to needle felt a hedgehog, making a tole painted message block, and the latest Look, Learn, & Create video with Lisa Kettell.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi turns wood curtain pulls into pretty dolls.

About Family Crafts
Check out this collection of free printable projects for Father's Day. Print and make Father's Day cards, coupon books, tags, and much more.

Jun 11, 2010

No More Mrs. Nice Gal

Wimpy from Popeye copyright E.C. Segar

I think the toughest thing about being a freelancer is that you are the last person on everyone's list of people to pay. You are running a business, you are meeting your deadlines, you are exceeding expectations...yet more often than not people treat the freelancer as if they're doing it for fun and the money is just the bonus icing on the cake. Oooo...icing.

Though my work is fun, it is also incredibly hard. I 0ften work six and seven days a week. I work on holidays. I work when I'm sick. I work because we have bills that need to be paid. The people to whom I must remit money for bills do not care to hear that I'll pay them as soon as the freelance 'check in the mail' arrives in my mailbox and clears my bank account. I'm not J Wellington Wimpy and they're not going to give me the cheeseburger unless I pay for it. My freelance work is my job. What I find fascinating is how the people who owe me money and have no trouble pressing me to meet deadlines seem to disconnect when it comes time to pay me. I wait endlessly for checks to arrive and the stress level of not knowing and still having to juggle the bills is epic.

How would they function if they had to wait indefinitely for their paychecks? How would they make their mortgage payments, pay their bills, buy food for their families? My freelance money is my salary. Just because I don't punch a time clock doesn't make my need to be paid in a timely manner any less important. Often before I get paid, I'm spending money. Money for materials, money to keep my computer online, money for shipping, money for my business email, money for my website, money, money, money, money..MONEY.

I need to be treated professionally because I act professionally. I find myself apologizing for asking to be paid. Seriously. Apologizing. Gosh, I'm sorry to bother you but can I please get paid so I can pay my mortgage now? Thanks.

What is up with that? Why should I apologize for asking to be paid? Shame on me. It's that guilt factor that the people who hire freelancers count on. Oh they're going to wait patiently, they're a freelancer, they feel weird about asking to be paid on time. We can count on that...so let's just hang on to the money we owe them as long as we can.

Show me the money.

Show...me...the money.

I am so friggin' tired of apologizing for asking to be paid. I'm not the only one. Most of the people I know who freelance are in the same boat. Sometimes we do the work and don't even get paid. It's so expensive to pursue the people who owe us money, we suck it up and move on. Seriously, can you imagine stealing money from a freelancer and feeling okay about that? People do, lots of people do.

I'm not sucking it up anymore, because sucking it up, quite frankly, sucks.

Snarkliy yours,
Madge

Jun 10, 2010

Do You Wanna Know a Secret?

Blackbeard's Bounty Necklace Copyright Margot Potter from Bead Chic

One of the hardest parts about my job is that I can't really share much with you. Since I don't sell my finished pieces at retail, I have to keep them under wraps until publication. That means I'm often working a year in advance. I can keep a secret, but it's not always easy! I get so excited when I'm creating new pieces.

I can't tell you what my next book is about, I can't show any of the designs I'm creating...it's a lot of Top Secret stuff around Studio Madge. If I share pictures or concepts, I risk someone taking those ideas and beating me to the punch. I can only blame myself if that happens simply because I couldn't keep it under wraps. Once you've put it out there, it takes on a life of it's own. That's the hardest part of designing and sharing your work on the internet. It's so easy for people to right click, save images of designs they like and then forget where they found them. Once you see an idea, it's easy to absorb it and later use it in your work without even recalling that you've seen it before. And then, most unfortunately there are those who just think the internet is a great big free for all and anything they see is fair game. It is what it is and even though it stinks sometimes, my job as a professional designer is to protect my ideas.

I keep my cards much closer to my chest these days than I used to. That being said, I'm so excited that I can finally share some pieces from my new book Bead Chic, here's one of my favorites. I called this necklace Blackbeard's Bounty. It's a tangle of gun metal chain, SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS pearls with a Green Girl Studios skeleton key hanging down the back. Yummy.

I'm going to offer free projects and book giveaways as we get closer to publication. So stay tuned. It's fun to finally be able to share with the class!

Cheers,
Madge

Jun 9, 2010

How To Raise a Flock of Chickens-Part Two



Our Baby Chicks Get a New Home

Brooding Dog Crate for Baby Chicks


Remember those adorable little baby chicks we got in the mail? They're teenagers now! It's amazing how quickly they grow up. We've moved them from the dog crate in the coat room in our house into a section of the outbuilding where our other chickens live last week. They're separated and they've still got a heat lamp, but they're on their way to becoming full grown birds.

The Yard Shack and Pig Cottage

Nesting Box with an Exiting Annoyed Chicken...

We keep our chickens in the back half of an outdoor shed we jokingly refer to as 'the yard shack.' The larger building belongs to the chickens and the cottage is where our pot bellied pigs live. There is a full size door that opens into the chicken's area in the shed with hanging feed bins, a heated water dispenser and dowels for them to roost on at night. My husband built the wall that separates the front of the shed for storage and the back where the chickens live. He also built some nesting boxes in which they lay their eggs. We keep those filled with clean straw. We can access the boxes from the outside so we don't have to worry about that mean old rooster when we gather the eggs. Chickens lay on average once every 1.5 days, so during the heavy laying season that's a lot of eggs! If you don't provide a light for them, they 'go on strike' during the shorter days of winter. As I mentioned in my last post, it's a matter of getting the eggs up front or getting them over time. A chicken only has so many eggs.

Our baby pullets are getting fresh water and starter feed daily. The older chickens get water, oyster shells (which help provide calcium), layer feed and access to the outside world for yummy bugs and grasses. It's important to remember that baby chicks are a tasty treat to many predators, including hawks. If you do give them access to the outdoors without supervision, bird netting on top of their run is important. Dig the fence in about 3 feet deep to prevent raccoons and other stealthy predators access. Make sure the fence openings are small enough to prevent the chicks from getting loose. When we first moved in here six years ago, I had many a chicken chasing episode before leaving to go on-air at QVC. I know my Amish neighbors got a kick out of watching me all dolled up for TV running around the yard after errant chickens.

Pickles the Friendly Chick

These Ameracauana chickens are super sweet, Avalon has befriended one bird she's named Pickles. Pickles loves to come out of the coop and sit on Avalon's arm. It's really cute. We've had absolutely no picking problems. After the last time we brooded and the bins of injured chicks, it's been a relief.

I'll keep you posted as these little chicks grow up. Having backyard chickens really is a wonderful family activity. You can't beat farm fresh, free range eggs either!

Cheers,
Madge