Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Work Continues........

The last several days of my life have been spent on focusing on website design and content, playing in Powerpoint, learning the in's and out's of the program, and in actually getting my classes within the studio up and running. I know I'm now hell-bent on designing the site myself, to save some $$$ in web design fees and I believe for me this is the best way to go as I'll not only be learning along the way but will be better prepared for updates and improvements to be made. I believe that I the more you put yourself into your business, the more aware you are of what is required on the day to day operations.

I reviewed the class descriptions, handouts, and will be timing myself on the teaching of them from beginning to end so that I'll have some concept of how much time I'll need in the actual preparation of each class, teaching and assisting those taking the classes, all of which will assist me in the pricing of the classes appropriately. There is definately a lot to consider.....

Secondly, my thoughts are focusing more on more on the introduction of a product line in my fiance's store. I believe I've set my mind on the products that I desire to include and have also been spending some time thinking about how to make this goal of mine achievable on a larger scale in the event that this takes off. I believe I've come upon several realizations that will assist me better in the future and I've even considered the possibility of expanding this venture. There's definately room for expansion and I believe that if one doesn't plan for it and consider it as an valuable option they are setting themselves up for failure before they even begin.

There are times I wish I could be more specific in some of my thoughts and ideas, however, I'm learning from experience that somethings are better left unsaid and kept private in nature if one plans to succeed and not benefit someone else who may steal your thoughts and ideas before you are able to implement them yourself. That makes it a lot harder when you are a sole-proprieter of a business and can count only upon yourself to implement those ideas. If only there was more time in the day.....and I had a little more time to implement these things.

Well, that realization has led me to creating a list of goals that I will be working towards on a daily basis. I've left some room in the schedule for some room for error and some personal time that can be used for business if needed. Focusing on this is now my number one priority! I'm buckling down and getting serious about this......... it's time to make these dreams my reality!
Stay tuned, there are some improvements in the works............*smiles*

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Altered Puzzle Pieces

I've been desiring to create an altered puzzle piece for quite for some time after being inspired by others who have posted their amazing artwork online. I didn't have a large puzzle to work with so I improvised using a smaller {medium- child's puzzle- ages 5 to 8} and assembling it. Next, I broke the completed puzzle into sections and applied Gel Medium to the surface. Once dry, I flipped it over onto the back side of a sheet of printed paper and traced out the outline of it and cut it out. Another layer of Gel Medium applied to the puzzle actually adheres the printed paper to the puzzle. Having the gel medium out already, I decided to take this a bit further and create an inkjet photo transfer technique onto the altered puzzle. I love the way this turned out.... you can see the results below.

Long, Lost Love Letters - An Altered Puzzle Posted by Hello

Various ATC's created for trade at EP's House of Card exhibit Posted by Hello

More Asian themed ATC's for trade while at EP's House of Card exhibit Posted by Hello

Seaside Tranquility; Create an Artful Life; and a masculine Cigar themed ATC for EP's House of Cards exhibit Posted by Hello

Two Asian themed ATC for EP's House of Cards Exhibit Posted by Hello

New art and other things..........

What does an extension cord, TV tray, and front USB ports have in common? An easy way for me to access my scanner to upload new artwork! LOL! It seems when I decided to turn an old amoire into a computer amoire, I didn't quite figure in all the space it would take for the modem, computer screen, cable modem, cable/dsl router, printer and scanner. So, the scanner got booted with the intention of hooking it up out in the studio to the computer there. Well, having gotten sickly and a number of other life happenings, I never seemed somehow to quite make it that far. However, never underestimate the resourcefulness of a woman!

Anyways, I've uploaded some new glass collage art pieces and some decorated bottle caps that I recently finished up. My intention is to create me both an altered art bracelet and a necklace. I'm planning to jazz it up a step further by adding some stringed beads, pieces of fun fibers, ribbons, lace and what-knots to some of the links and jump rings. I'm so excited! Cannot wait to get this project completed so I can actually wear them.

I've been playing with creating ATC's for the House of Cards Exhibit from European Papers and will be uploading some of those creations soon. While working my mind has been on how I desire my ATC T-shirt to look once Chris and I begin working to create them. I've a few ideas in mind using the GAC 100, Golden's Fluid Acrylics, MM foam stamps --- the decorative ding bats and alpha's. I also am planning to use some Luminies paints, mainly for the interference colors so I'm thinking a dark colored T will work best although I'm sort of hung up on the brights that are available as well. I really like the idea of transfering some actual ATC's on the shirt; and am really enjoying the prospect of creating a few fabric ATC's to sew on as patches. So, I am truly looking forward to that.

Well, I'm off to the studio to grab some recent ATC's I've created so I can scan them in and get them uploaded while my make-shift station is available for scanner use, LOL! More artwork to follow........

Bottle cap art to be adapted into charms.... I used artwork from a Design Originals bottle cap art sheet. Posted by Hello

Reverse sides of the Glass Art Collage Charms. Posted by Hello

Glass Art Charms created by me for an altered art bracelets and necklaces. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thank you's; updates and art..........

Thank you to those who've emailed or IM'd me asking where I've been and if everything is okay. I am fine; just been so very busy and sick. Seems what I thought was simply a summer cold turned into pneumonia {which I just finished a course of antibiotics for and am doing so much better!}........ now to get my hip back into place and staying there would be a godsend! I dislocated my hip in a coughing fit......... at first I thought I'd simply thrown my back out but after a few days of intense pain that lots of rest, long soaks in both the hot tub & bath tub didn't cure; I figured I'd better get my a$$ to the chiropractor to see what was up. I'm doing better now yet still seeing my dear Dr. 3X a week.......... probably need to continue seeing for a few months according to him.

Why you've not seen any new artwork from me...... well, it isn't that I'm not creating.... a girl has to have something to do while laid up, LOL! it is that I unhooked my scanner intending to get it hooked up out in the art studio. Since then, I decided to change my mind and will hooking it up using a TV tray beside the computer amoire since there is no room inside. I'm taking my other scanner to the studio for use there. I promise, I've plenty to get scan in and get uploaded!

I'm working diligently on creating ATC's; have probably made close to 50-60 of them. I will be submitting 5 of them for European Papers House of Cards Traveling display. Chris and I have gotten together 3X this last week and will playing today to create even more to take with on July 31st for the exhibit and in person trades. Both of us are truly excited and impressed to have something so amazing so close to us. For some reason, there is not a lot of scrapbooking, rubberstamping, and paper arts conventions here in Ohio. I don't understand it as Columbus has a wonderful Convention Center that is easily accessible. Anyways, the ones we do have make for a nice road trip, LOL!

Speaking of road trips, Chris and I are planning an overnight adventure the 2nd week of July. We're heading to Ann Arbor, MI to visit Hollander's!!!! I absolutely love their selection of handmade and imported papers, book arts, and various other bookmaking goodies. You cannot beat the eye candy that can viewed while there. So, saving $$$ for that ---- we've decided to make it an overnight adventure and will be staying in a motel vs. the 3 3 1/2 hr. drive up, shopping, and then returning the same day. I'm ready for the adventure.

Besides the ATC creations, I've been working on the Journal RR. Due to one of the participants having a death in the family, I received two add'l journals besides the one I currently had. It wasn't too hard working in all 3 at the same time, in fact, it made it easy as I could create everything assembly line fashion and get them mailed right back out ---- one within 2 days of receiving it! I haven't seen any of the pages --- additions that have been added to my own journal so it will be a complete surprise when I do! I'm an not the least bit concerned about it like I imagined I'd be..... but then seeing the artwork created and shared within the journals I've received and worked within is a major reassurance that it will be absolutely stunnning. To date I've worked in 5 of the 14 circulating journals and the shipping hasn't been bad to ship them on. I was a little concerned about this at the beginning, however, being able to send them Priority so far has been wonderful. Low cost for the weight of some and 2-3 day delivery to the next person on the journey is amazing! Having them to work in while getting through the health issues was a godsend; wasn't like I was doing much anyways other than sitting and laying around; Creating Art in them helped to keep my sanity intact, {ok, what sanity I have anyways!}LOL!

Well, I'm off to telephone Chris to determine what time I should expect her. I'm looking forward to getting back into the studio and creating. Lots and lots of ideas and inspiration flowing so it will be fantastic to tap into it. I promise to hook up the scanner later and upload some new images!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Summer days and hanging out with friends...

I'm loving this wonderful hot summer weather! It is just the lift that I so desparately needed. Tuesday was in the mid-90's --- perfect for a cool day out on the rear deck. Don and I have adjusted the hot tub temp to a cool 94 degrees so we are able to enjoy it and cool off. Patti, Taylor, Dakota and I spend the early part of the day lounging in the sun and in the hot tub cooling off. Since Dakota is still so little, I waited to add chemicals until after we were done. Around 4 p.m. I treated the water with the weekly shock treatment, sanitizing tablet, and adjusted the bromine and ph levels - which didn't really require tweeking. An early evening thunderstorm cooled down the temps of the day allowing Don and I to enjoy a late night soak in the low 80's. I enjoy our deck so much in the evenings. We've 3 bunnies that roam the yard, several songbirds === some cardinals and a morning dove that sing to us beautifully. Flowers, a few candles, and cold glass of wine make for some fantastic soul-searching time and relaxation creating a zen-like environment.

Yesterday, we took a ride, driving first to Upper Sundusky up St. Rt. 23, then over to St. Rt. 30 into Hunger Paynes in Crestline for dinner. Their stuffed green peppers were just right; not too much in the heat. Upon leaving we drove on over to Scrap and Stamp Ink in Ontario to visit with Becky. It was so great to have a little bit of time to catch up with such a wonderful friend. We made plans to get to gether soon and will talk later about a stamping play date. I, for one, am ready for one! Don is now back on day hours at the store, so it has been a little bit of an adjustment for me. Soon I'm hoping I'll be back on track with getting back to my artwork.

The journal RR is still rotating, I'm hoping to get a page or two finished in Pat's journal..... I didn't quite get that accomplished as I'd hoped to earlier in the week. Oh well........ just as well as the mail date will be closer to another participants return from vacation.

On a more personal note, I've been reading Dr. Phil's Self Matters and I love this book! He is so straight forward and truly empowering. Yesterday, Tonya, my hairdresser fit me in with an early 8:30 appt. to cut and highlight my hair and I had an eye Dr. appt. at 11:20. My trial pair of contacts should be in within a week to ten days; and new glasses a bit later. I'm back to eating lighter meals, more fruits and veggies, and am getting more exercise; hopefully, I'll be dropping some more weight soon as I've seemed to hit a plateau.

It appears to be yet another beautiful Ohio day; there is the possibility of a late afternoon thunderstorm so maybe I can squeeze in some studio time today.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Search and Research?

LOL, for lack of a better title! Anyways, the search for the "elusive" chaise lounges continued on Sunday........ after many, many long distance telephone calls and absolutely no luck what-so-ever, Don & I decided a drive to Kenton was in order. While visiting K-Mart we decided on a 4 pc. Patio Bar! The additional 20% off and the Martha Stewart Bar Set seemed liked the perfect deal....... at least until we tried to get it into the back of the Jeep Cherokee, LOL! About 20 minutes later we finally managed it and we're on our way. Stopping at an new nursery on the way back home re-inforced some of the components that I am desiring to incorporate in my own rear deck and back yard. Lots of pottery and vintage garden tools! I picked up a flat of white petunias to coordinate with all the white, yellow, and light greens in the surrounding plants and planters. Perfect contrast to the neutral khaki-color in the patio furnishings.

Once home, we unloaded the bar set; much easier to take out than it was to put in! Then, proceeded to determine it's placement on our deck. After a few mistakes, we decided to move the table over a few feet, remove two of the table set chairs to create a small seating group on the opposite side of the deck, and placed the bar set at the end of the table grouping. In doing so, we also have the bar to utilize as a sideboard for casual outdoor dining and entertaining.

Upon checking the outdoor thermometer to discover it was 90 degrees F in the shade, I decided it was time to cool down! We ventured indoors to move some small furniture pieces so the air conditioners could be put in it. Thankfully, our neighbors helped get them up out of the basement where we stored them on wooden pallets over the winter and into the windows. While waiting for the house to cool, we ventured back outside to wash the Jeep. Lots of sun, heat, and humidity and a garden hose made for a fabulous time. I don't remember Don & I being so playful in a long time as we were washing the Jeep; it was no longer a chore to complete but a contest to see who could drench who without the other's knowledge! An hour later, we were both sunburnt! LOL! as the heat of the day and the water fried both of us.

After cleaning ourselves up, changing out of soaking wet clothes, we headed to Lowe's. Purchased a matching curtain rod and a pair of sheers for our last remaining living room window and a new Ice Tea Maker. I won't mention who broke the last one due to trying to shove a large piece of ice into the plastic picture but I will say I was excited to see this new one came with an additional bonus of an extra picture! LOL! Leaving there, our wallets a lot lighter than when we entered we headed off to pick up a new telephone. Anyone who has talked to me on the phone when it is raining or has recently rained will definately appreciate that new fact! Unfortunately, severe thunderstorms prevented us from getting it plugged in and charged up; maybe today? Our next adventure led us to the grocery store...... I chore I despise but survived. Upon returning home I cooked us a wonderful Chinese meal ... Pepper Steak and white rice which we enjoyed along with a glass of white wine on the back deck until the sky turned dark and ugly. It wasn't long before we running again, grabbing anything and everything that wasn't fastened down as the wind suddenly went from cool and comforting to strong and blowing up a thunderstorm. We cleaned up briefly after dinner only to fall exhausted into our perspective places --- Don in his recliner and me on the loveseat. Life is good!

The research part of this post, is I haven't done anymore in the direction of Occupational Therapy. I'm hoping to get some work done on the computer later today during the heat of the day. For now, I'm off to plant white petunias...............

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Good Morning.........

I've spent the last few days of the week talking with the local collage here and envisioning my dream recently mentioned. Seems no-one has an answer for me although all is not lost as I'm getting referred all over---- meaning I'm making more phone calls, speaking with more people, and feel as if I'm running in circles, LOL! Nothing new with that! Anyways, I did seem to come across one lead that appears solid. Hopefully, by this week's end I'll have a little more answers to some of my questions: I've simply got to believe that I am going to get something accomplished! In the meantime, I've done a little online research. Lima offers a Occupational Therapist Assistance program and Philadelphia offers a 4 yr. full fledged Occupational Therapist program. I'm not exactly crazy about a 2 1/2 hr. drive 2X a day for Lima; and Philly doesn't interest me---at least not at the moment. Therefore, the search continues.

I spoke with a product manufacturer on the telephone this week and will soon be adding an entirely new line of products to Partly Paper! I am so excited as I will be the first supplier of this product within my local and surrounding area. I'm not certain of exactly how that happened as it doesn't happen often enough. I am learning to get more in touch with myself and in doing so and going with my instincts things are truly looking up. I'm feeling a bit more positive these last several days, even in light of the recent "run-around".

Yesterday, was the first day of Don being back on days. It seemed strange having time with him on a Friday afternoon and evening! We ended up taking an unexpected road trip in search of 2 matching chaise lounges for our rear deck. We were, okay, I was....... hopeful that I would find 2 that match our patio furniture. 3 counties and 3 stores later and no such luck. I plan to do an internet search to see if someone within the chain store has any available which may possibly mean yet another road trip. Well, with any success that is.

I did manage to re-pot a few houseplants this week along with a Hydrangea. I moved some candles outside to place within the potted plants around the hot tub and on the patio table. After our search for the elusive chaise lounges, Don and I managed to take an hour or so to enjoy our rear deck, patio set, and wide open sky ---- a perfect end to the day. The weather was absolutely gorgeous here in Ohio and today is supposed to be yet another beautiful day. I'm looking forward to it; maybe I can cook up Don a wonderful breakfast and sweet talk my way into a trip to a garden center for some flowers to plant....

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Incorporating College and Business.... What am I looking at?

Occupational Therapist

What or How will incorporate my business and my education?


Can this be accomplished?

Catching Up or Running in Circles?

I cannot believe that it has been two weeks since I last update my blog! I've been so busy with the business side of my life that every aspect of my everyday is beginning to run together. In fact, I'm not even certain anymore if I'm moving forward or backtracking, LOL! Is it business or personal?

Here is the deal, I've been trying to focus on my home-based business, thinking things through more carefully, determining and deciding what is actually is that I desire to do, looking at my options from several angles, trying to stay focused on each aspect of it all, only to determine that it is all inter-related and without one aspect, it is impossible to continue to work on another.

So, I stopped, took a deep breath, and decided to review my original business plan that I had written two short years ago. I discovered that so much of what I desire then has now changed and it isn't fitting in the NEW direction that I've decided to take. Urgh!

So, instead of re-inventing the wheel and starting completely over writing a business plan that will take a few months to complete, I sat made an outline! Which is working for me.......... it is assisting to keep me somewhat focused on the tasks that I am trying to accomplish!

So, I got back to writing class descriptions, creating supply lists with measurements for each class, typing up outlines and class handouts; ----> At least these are New ones!

Then, I looked over what I have previously completely and decided that although not perfect, they will work for now and can be re-vamped and improved upon later.

I've also began determining website content, looking at hosting features, checking hosting options, asking myself a million questions, figuring in the cost of the operation, and looking at my budget to determine if:

1. Can I afford to do this NOW? Would it be in my best interest to go with something a little less and less expensive; allowing me to use the $$$ I'd save for different business aspects? Where is the best place to put the $$$ I'd save so that it works for me to get me where I desire to be in 3 months, 6 months, and one year from now?

2. How much $$$ can I save myself if I learn to do some of the work myself vs. hiring someone else to do it for me? Is the $$$ saved worth the time it would take me to learn and do some of it? Will it be beneficial to me to do this?

Well, the answer was yes!

So, I made a trip out to my community college to speak with an advisor. We took some time to look up my previous college experience --- 5 yrs. in an unrelated field of study, and discovered that I way over and above what credit hours I took in my area of study at the time. Between 1990-1995, working for an Associate's Degree in Nursing, a 107 Credit hour curriculum, I accumulated 141 Credit hours and after 5 yrs. of all that work, I am still without an Associate's Degree!!!! I could not believe it....

Unfortunately, I am unable to go back and complete college for my R.N. Degree without having to test out of a few years of collage courses and complete my 1st year of Nursing over and then take my 2nd year. OK, but..... that isn't feasible for me due to the fact that my automobile accident in May of 1999, I am no longer physical capable of performing the duties even if I did.

Therefore, I will be contacting another person in the college to see what can be done with the previous credits that I have already earned, and IF we together can work out an area of independent study or return to college to create a degree program that would be specifically geared to assist me start my business and incorporate the previous knowledge and credits I've already earned.

There are several ways that I can go about using the knowledge I gained while attending 5 yrs. of college previously and possibly achieve the goals that I currently am striving for.

The complicated part or down side....... is that I may need to transfer collages and there is a slight possiblity that I could loss some of my previously earned credit hours. The finances that I have for my business, would now need to go towards my education and my business endeavor would be put on hold or at least on a part-time basis while I attend college once again full-time.

The upside is........... IF I decided to return to college, within 1-2 years, I could be working in a related field which would assist me both personally, professionally, and financially which in turn could assist my business endeavor in the long run.

So, I am at yet another crossroads in my life. Decisions, Decisions.................... Anyways, I will be meeting with an advisor to see if we can make arrangements to get me where I desire to be, incorporating the two, looking at my options. I certainly wish that somewhere within my heart I knew exactly that this is the right thing to do. Right now, I'm simply trying to relax, think about it all, and hopefully I can come to a conclusion soon. Until then, I suppose I'll keep doing what it is that love to do........ create art!