A freelance writer contacted me last month about featuring my Whale design in an article about best birth announcements. I finally remembered to look for it today when I looked through my Etsy shop stats and saw that I'd had some hits through iVillage.
I've become a member of an online community of designers with very big hearts. The generosity of these incredible women and men is boundless. They willingly share tips, techniques, processes, constructive criticism and so much more—with their competitors! But, the extent of their generosity does not end with design. When one of the members of the community had a health emergency in her family, members of the community immediately jumped into action and set up a fund to help with the financial burdens. The outpouring was amazing for someone these people had never met in person and compete against in design competitions.
And, then Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, and again big hearts and caring people put their talents to work to aid in the relief effort. Jackie Mangiolino of Believe Notes, herself a resident of Queens New York, proposed an Etsy shop where each of the designers would contribute a design to be made into custom stamps and then hand-stamped onto cards by her mother. The designers all jumped on board and started cranking out amazing designs, Simon's Stamps agreed to donate many of the custom stamps and an Designers Care, a new Etsy shop was born.
In this shop you'll find a great selection of fun, touching, inspirational, cute, lovely designs which are hand stamped, or hand embossed, onto either a small wallet-sized card or a larger note card. The cards are perfect for keeping as inspiration, framed art, attaching to a gift, sending as a thank you, or as a gift it forward to people that may be in need of a little cheering up.
This initiative is a non-profit, so all proceeds (aside from shipping and transaction fees) will be donated to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
Today I'm getting more catalogs to go out in the mail, but I've also got my first order printed, created, assembled, packed up and ready to ship. I guess I'm in the wholesale business. This first order is headed to Ft. Worth, Texas and I hope they're pleased and come back for more.
If you'd like to share my work with a Judaica shop in your area, let me know who to contact and I'll send them a catalog, too!
Thursday evening while I was waiting for Hannah and Dann to come by before leaving town, I went out to check the mail. These days there usually isn't much interesting mail to be worth going out there since we're not getting inundated with college brochures. This day a few things awaited me to put a smile on my face. The Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University sends out a newsletter at the beginning of each school year. I flipped through it quickly to find my sweet girl was pictured in there from Spring Student-Faculty dinner where graduates are honored. And, she was included in a list of recent graduates and what they're each currently doing. Hannah has been so successful at finishing up her college goals, after getting a little side-tracked along the way, and we are so proud of her and her amazing accomplishments. She is a very talented young woman with a very bright future ahead of her.
Then I open up the KC Jewish Chronicle. Each week when it arrives I flip through the pages to look for any big news and then when I have more time I go back read the articles. A couple pages in I found an article about the Urban Suburban show that opened this past Sunday in the Epsten Gallery at the Kansas City Jewish Museum of Contemporary Art. It was accompanied by a painting, and I was happy to see that the show was being promoted. I didn't stop to read, but kept on flipping and toward the end of the paper I was shocked when I turned the page to find my painting, Bright Torah, printed in full color and taking up a whole lot of real estate on that page. There are quite a lot of works of art in the show and this is my very first gallery show—I'm just so excited to receive this kind of recognition!
Finally I opened an envelope containing a lovely thank you note from all of the girls at Watkins Scholarship Hall at KU signed by all of the exec members for designing their exec t-shirts. How nice of them to take the time to do that and for even thinking about it! I'm just thrilled they were pleased with the way the shirts turned out, which they tie-dyed. (Oooh—I think a picture of a shirt is in order!) Rachel has been very fortunate to have had such a special, historic home to live in during her college experience and great women with whom she's shared the space. Rock Chalk Lady Llamas. :-)
Looking back at those two fresh-faced kids makes me feel really old!
On a beautiful day in Ft. Collins, Colorado, thirty years ago today, Boyd and I exchanged vows and started our life together. There were clouds and thunderstorms that day, but the storms added to the atmosphere of the event and eventually cleared. Like that day, through the last thirty years there has been choppy weather at times. We always seem to weather the rough times and come out stronger. I am blessed to have a caring, sensitive, supportive, spiritual, loving man by my side through it all. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect husband or father to share my life.
We celebrated at EBT, a restaurant we've heard about for many years, but had never dined at for one reason or another. It was a perfect dinner with a selection of delicious food on the menu—dishes that didn't include pork or shellfish but did have an abundance of choices other than exotic options for this girl with simple tastes. We dined in an antique elevator from an old Kansas City department store, sipping martinis with baked brie, then wine with our yummy dinners and ended with two scrumptious desserts.
While we ate we talked about Pearl of course, but all of the good things, and not so great goings on in our life. What is perfect are our two daughters and son-in-law who make us so proud, both with their achievements but also with their senses of humor, their care of us, each other and the world, and their big hearts. What wonderful people they've turned out to be.
Keep checking back for more news to come... :-)
The road of life never is even without hills and valleys, but the last several weeks have been filled with some big ups and some big downs. After more than two years of nursing an aging dog with many ailments, we lost our precious gem of a dog, Princess Pearl Petite on Sunday afternoon, August 26th at about 12:45. The hardest decision we've ever had to make, became a bit easier after several days of greater decline. Those last moments are burned into my memory and are so painful. If I go into the details I won't be able to get on to the good stuff, so I won't share those now. It doesn't matter too much now anyway. What does matter is that Pearl was the most loved dog in the world, and we did everything we could to make her life long and with the best quality it could possibly be.
Below I've copied the words I used on that day and the day after.
From Facebook on August 26th: The sweetest dog in the world is now an angel and my heart is completely broken.
In response to all of the supportive comments on August 27th: I'm sorry I haven't thanked you all for your warm, caring, supportive comments sooner. It's been too painful to do it, and I'm crying now as I write this. I always knew this day would arrive, and knew it would hurt, but I never imagined just how much and how big the ache would be. I miss her "smile", her trust, playfulness, loyalty and so much more. I miss my "shadow" as I walk into my studio or her waiting for me there, knowing it was time to work. I will miss going out to run errands through drive thru's, not because they needed to be done right then, but because i knew she'd enjoy it and reward me with her smiles afterward. Mostly right now I want to bury my nose in that sweet, soft, yummy fur and inhale a deep whiff of her. Every night as she fell asleep between by legs and lay her head on my leg, knowing she felt so safe there, she dug a hole deeper into my heart that will never be filled again. My sweet, lovable Pearl—your were truly the best gem of a dog, and you will shine in my memory to the end of time. Thank you all for understanding just how much a dog becomes a part of your family. I'm blessed to have a community of family and friends who care so deeply. And, if you have a pet, please give them a kiss tonight for me.
What did help to ease some of the pain was working with the most compassionate vet. Dr. Tabatha Regehr at Perimeter Veterinary Center, was a godsend. Over the past two years she'd given us her cell number and email address so we could call anytime of the day or night. She emailed to check in when it had been a while since she'd seen us. Tabatha took Pearl home with her overnight after she did the last surgery in October so she could care for her because we were so nervous about the large incision. She cried with us and comforted us and checked in on us and is a true angel. She even made a donation to K-State's Pet Tribute in Pearl's memory. We are planning to do the same in her honor.
A few days later I went to the groomer that we'd been taking Pearl to for years. I planned my trip for right at five o'clock when she'd be closing, so it wouldn't ruin her day and so we'd have time to talk. When I walked in a new assistant, who I hadn't met yet, came out to answer the door. I told her I was there to see Jean and she went to the back room to get her. Jean knew why I was there, opened the door, waited for me to nod my head to confirm, and then came out crying. We held each other and cried together. A card arrived from her a few days later saying how she appreciated us entrusting Pearl to her for so many years and that the memories would be very dear to her. How wonderful to be surrounded in life by people who are so empathetic and supportive! We are blessed.
And, so now I sit here at my computer, and could continue to for as long as I want since Pearl isn't here to remind me it's time to go to bed. I suppose it is easier to work when I want to without distraction, to sleep through the night without having to trod down the stairs holding her sweet smelling, furry little body and hope I don't trip and fall, to come and go from the house without worrying about the little one who needs constant love and attention. But, the house feels so empty all by myself without my little companion and it will be a very long time until I stop expecting her to come clean up the kitchen floor when I drop food, or welcome me home or miss the weight of her little body nestled between my legs in bed at night.
Rest in peace sweet Pearl.
Come back for the hills in the road.....
So they got the name of my shop wrong (Pearl is a Pear!), but they did say that my design is on trend right now! Thanks Babble.com!
Thanks to Pingg for featuring my Go for the Gold invitation on the blog and FB page!
A couple of years ago I was contacted by Jewish Toys, a company in Chicago, to do design work for them. Unfortunately at the time I was in the middle of working on Hannah and Dann's wedding and had to turn them away, because I was just too busy. Just recently they contacted me again with a new project. Their timing was perfect this time, and they sent instructions for designing a store display for "Paint Your Own Tzedakah Boxes." Part of the specs were to create illustrations of boxes with samples of art that might be painted on the blank wooden boxes, so I had to look over 3D art effects Help in Illustrator, since it's been a while since of done that type of thing. They decided not to have me paint actual boxes because painting and photographing them would take much longer. The company has been great to work with and they're pleased with the results—I hope to be getting future assignments later this week.
One of my new moving announcement designs has gotten a "Today's Best Award" on Zazzle. Nice. :-)
After about 6 months of submitting designs for Minted challenges, I received an exciting email yesterday. My Doodle Flowers women's stationery design has been chosen as a late editor's pick! Finally I will have a design for sale on their site. I've spent the day working out the two alternate colorways along with the designs for the backside of the stationery sheets and the matching skinny address labels. I think they'll be available for sale very soon!
The last few weeks I've been working on a new Etsy shop which carries stock invitation designs, currently for weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs, that can be customized to suit the customer's needs. Named for the cutest dog in the world, it's Princess Pearl Paperie! I'm working on adding new designs slowly but surely. A hacked website (yes, someone violated this very website last week—the horror of it all!) has kept me away from creating new pieces. But, it's all working now and has been updated, so I can get back to designing. For so long I've been asked about doing invitations and this seems like a more economical option for the customer, as well as a less stressful endeavor for me. Please take a look and share the new shop with your friends, and keep coming back to see the new goodies that are added.
My painting was chosen to promote the 2012 Jewish Arts Week sponsored by the American Guild of Judaic Art. It's a great organization—I'm proud to be a member and honored to have had my work chosen! Visit the American Guild of Judaic Art for more information.
I just received an email from a company interested in licensing my art for needlepoint canvases. Unfortunately I can't work with them because I already have an exclusive for needlepoint licensing with another company. She also told me that she found my art on eBay being sold on needlepoint canvases. They are being used and sold without permission. I AM LIVID! I can't believe that people do this! I called about getting the products removed from their store. If I lived in the Boston area I'd got show up on their doorstep and punch them out!
Check this out! Thanks to my awesome son-in-law Dann for pointing this out—my painting Shalom Dove II is on Hallmark's Rosh Hashanah page. Pretty exciting to see. And, yes, Dann, I did go back and look at the contract, which does include electronic distribution.
I've been playing around with some new jewelry supplies recently, thinking about a better way to make my mini art print pendants. The soldering takes a very long time—time I should probably be spending creating new art. I found these wonderful "pendant trays" that come in different metallic finishes and use a glass tile to finish the piece and magnify the art—much faster than my previous soldering method, and not near as crazy difficult as the using epoxy resins I've tried to fill pendants in the past.
Using the little reproductions of my art has worked great, but I've been trying to think of other ways to create some unique jewelry. So I started thinking that I could create little mini original pieces of art painted in watercolors and customized for people with their choice of colors, initials, etc. Today in a bout of creative energy (I always have more of that when I have the house to myself for several days) I made some of these pendants. The one above can be customized for a bat mitzvah, a confirmand or just someone who loves and studies torah. Each little mini painting is done in professional watercolors on heavy watercolor paper and then lettered with gouache. Finally the mini painting is mounted under a clear glass tile and is nestled in a shiny silver pendant tray which dangles from a shiny silver plated ball chain.
This pendant is also a tiny watercolor painting and can be customized with wedding colors and initials for bridesmaid gifts, which can be attached with ribbon to bouquets during the wedding ceremony and then worn after the wedding, like the ones below I made for Hannah's wedding. I can discuss all kinds of ways to create a custom design that uses theme elements for weddings, such as the leaves in these...
I've already listed the first of these pendants in my Etsy shop, and I have all kinds of thoughts racing around in my head for more ideas. If you have ideas you want to share or questions to ask, leave a comment here or send me a message.
Here's just one more look at another pendant I painted and assembled today...
I checked out Pingg today—it's been a little while since I've visited. Several weeks ago I thought I'd post some designs that were rejected by other clients (the horror of rejection—yes, I've experienced that!) Well, turns out that one of those rejected images is a top design right now on Pingg, and it's featured on their front page!
After a week filled with technical, crazy ups and downs, my new home is done. Well, it still may need a few tweaks here and there, but it's good enough for now. This combines my website and blog all in one convenient place. I used Headway Themes to create this for Wordpress, and I highly recommend it! It will make for much easier updating and a more user friendly portfolio. I also recommend having a terrific son-in-law who provides great support and a husband who doesn't care if you work night and day and prepares delicious dinners to keep you nourished and feeds the dog and takes out the trash and does the laundry and buys you wonderful computer toys........
There's a handy-dandy contact page, so please share your comments with me—what do you like or not like? I'd love to hear what you're interested in reading about, too.
So make sure to subscribe either by feed or email using the links on the top of the sidebar to the left. I hope you keep coming back to see what I've got on my easel and computer screen.
The rain, hail and wind didn't disrupt a great day for the festival in Boulder. After the storms blew through the weather was great and so were the crowds. I stayed busy all day—too busy to take more than just these few pictures. Everyone was very pleased to meet the artist who designed the logo and shirts and hear about my work. I was thrilled to sell a few paintings and bunches of pendants, cards, magnets and prints. The Boulder festival will definitely be on my calendar for next year.