Saturday, February 28, 2009

Amazon Giftcard

Did you know you can buy giftcards on amazon and have them emailed to that lucky person?

I figured that you'd have to wait for an actual giftcard to be mailed, but technology is far beyond that. It's as simple as typing in any amount you wish to give to your friend, type in their email address and then enter your credit card number. How exciting would that be to get that in the inbox, instead of spam and forwards? Plus you don't have to wrap it. I'm enamored by the idea. Just had to share.












Check it out: amazon giftcard that you buy online!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Changing Layout from 2 columns to 3!

Some of you may of noticed that the layout changed. It went from two columns to three. I love it! Now less space is devoted to the background and more for text. I'd been meaning to look into how to edit the layout, then low and behold, on Works-For-Me-Wednesdays, someone posted all about it. Thank you Unfinished mom!!!

Go to the Blogger Guide and follow the steps on editing the HTML. Don't worry it's explained simply and there are pictures.

One thing he doesn't go over is how to find the name of your blog template:
1. Go to your homepage of the blogger blog
2. Click on customize
3. Click on edit html
4. Look for blogger template style. It's towards the top. Mine is son of moto

If you want to edit the column widths, go for it! I put the ads in the first column and the text in the far right column. Then altered the column widths from being the same size to one skinnier and one larger to fit the size of the content. To change the widths, on the first step on the Blogger Guide, where it talks about inserting the code for #sidebar {, you can edit the second line that says "width." Just make sure if you take 25 pixels (px) off of one, add it to the other column.

The reason I put the ads between the posts and the text on the far right is to create a visual rest area. Just because there is more space, I need to avoid creating visual clutter. Just because there is space, doesn't mean it needs to have another widget.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wiggle for Energy

Since joining the gym some mornings I am super sore. When I'm this sore, the only thing that I can do to make myself get out of bed is to move to the floor and lay down with a blanket. On the ground I use the Chi Machine for 20 minutes. It wiggles oxygen into the body and relaxes sore muscles. It has helped me to have more energy and greatly lessen my monthly cramps. My grandma used it to reduce swelling in her feet and to increase mobility in her fingers restricted from arthritis. In Asia it is used for cancer patients.















When the timer is up and the machine stops wiggling, I feel a tingling sensation all over my body. It is like a wave that splashes from my toes and back to the top of my head and down to my toes again. Kind of like making waves in the bathtub. I have to lay there for an extra couple of minutes, otherwise I get light-headed if I stand up right away.

Check out this short video of how the chi machine works. My machine doesn't have speed controls like the one in the video. Mine has one speed setting, along with a timer.















For more Works-for-me-Wednesday tips, check them out here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Week 7





















Week 7
I pop-up more than the Queen!


How's your web presence?
In the name of marketing (not vanity) google your name.
Until recently when I searched my name, there were tons of links for genealogies and the Queen of England.
Now I have most of the links on the first 3 pages!
That's why social marketing was the top priority for this week.

My brain was getting cluttered with computer tasks that I kept putting off. Some have been nagging for months. I much prefer to do tactile accomplishments versus virtual tasks. It's gotten to the point of being distracting in the studio. Assessing the reason for my problems with focusing, I recalled the trick of the successful: delayed gratification. It took constant reminding to do the things I enjoy the least first. Most of them require sitting at the computer.




















An urban legend by secretaries is to pick the chair with the smallest seat, because your butt will grow to fit your chair. Armed with the narrowest chair in the house, I set out on lots of computer work.

Sitting Down:

Blog-
  • Added new content (Tip- This is crucial to encourage return visitors and for search engines to rank the blog higher.)
  • Revised bio and site header (Tip - Before the food allergies took presidence. Now the focus is on the art. I felt it was also important to list my portfolio site, elizabethsymington.com and to mention "Happenings in the Studio" is updated every Monday.)
  • Learned that to drive in more traffic, write articles for WikiHow. Hmm. Now I have to decide on what to write about first. (Thank you mom for this great tip!)
  • New addition to the index- "About Me" (Tip -When looking around other people's sites from the below mentioned carnivals, I learned that this is important for credibility and to get where the writers are coming from.)
  • New addition to the index – "Resolutions 2009" and "Social Marketing"
  • Organized images for the blog. (Tip- Sorted images by putting into folders with the same names of that of the blog's index. From there making folders called "images from web" and "my copyright." This way it will save lots of time when I go back and create ebooks and blurb books.)
Carnivals-

Facebook- temporarily removed the feed for my blog because of the drama caused by FB. They are talking about changing their contract with the users so that FB has the rights to anything written on the site. I don't want to lose my posts, so for now the blog is off of FB.

Swapped recommendations with people I respect on LinkedIn
  • I wrote three
  • Two people wrote really sweet things about me (Thank you so much!! I really appreciate it!)
Organized Computer
  • Sorted most of the files on thumb drive, external and laptop. (So far I’ve recycled 5 GB. There were folders inside of folders with obscure names like “artist’s statement” or “Elizabeth Symington,” or "to do list." I drive myself nuts some times. AHH!!! I am so glad that is almost over. From now on I will keep the files in order. I don't want to do this ever again.)
  • Backed up blog and wrote a "how to" post
  • Set up automatic schedule for cleaning out recycle bin and defragging computer
  • Installed McAfee. (Tip-Free for Comcast customers)

Moving Around:

Cousin K’s bedroom makeover (for her 13th b-day present)

Concept- Hang picture frames on the wall with no glass or pictures. Paint inside of them with magnetic paint. Then K can swap out pictures easily by using magnets.
  • Bought paint: lime greenish, medium value purple and super dark purple (almost black)
  • Shopped for curtains, frames, sheets, comforter, magnets

Shopping
Even though this week was dedicated to computer work, I drove to San Francisco to buy art supplies. That's because mom's car was available and the goal is to set up an etsy store ASAP. This means a need for inventory of Cactus Lights. The huge blue box below is full of cord for more lights.















Bought all of this (minus the couch) plus 2-8’ tree stakes for $24!!!

It was cheaper to drive to the San Francisco Bay Area and shop at Urban Ore and Scrap, than to buy here in Sacramento. Yah for salvage yards/art supply thrift stores!!!

Unfortunately I was pressed for time so I didn't have time to visit. Hopefully next time!





Freelance work of sorts



















  • Asked to be a monthly column writer for capitalistchicks.com. (For the record, I am super excited!) I looked at the site even more in depth than before and wrote out ideas of what I'd like to write about.
  • Hired as a business consultant to Barbara Parker, who's a color consultant and trend forecaster. We'll be working together to get her business up and running. I've wanted to work with Barb and now I get too. Can you tell I am stoked?
  • Donated art for auction. (It's weird sharing this kind of thing because it makes me sound showy and pompous. The reason I talk about donating art is to give other artists ideas on how to get their name out there. Some artists love the opportunity and others don't take this route because they feel the art is devalued since it's being given away.)
  • Photographed miniature pie magnets and ladies missionary tea (Photos on Picasa)

For More Photos
Check out the Picasa album,
"Week 7 Happenings in the Studio."


Weekly Challenge
How's your planning? Is the carriage before the horse?




















Determining the priority of making art and computer work is much like preparing for a store’s grand opening. First the foundation needs to be set before inviting in the flood of customers (it’s good to think optimistic). I had to step back and ask myself is the carriage before the horse? Or is the horse in its right place? Unfortunately things were not in the correct order. I needed to update, streamline and backup the blog and website before diving into full scale art production.

I’m half way through Organizing for the Creative Person: Right-Brain Styles for Conquering Clutter, Mastering Time, and Reaching Your Goals. The book echoes this same mind set except the authors, Dorothy Lehmkuhl and Dolores Cotter Lamping, used bigger words: proactive versus reactive. You can take the time to plan and prepare or you can run around putting out one fire out after another. Proactive sounds like a much better life style, so that’s what I am aiming for.

One tip from the book was to alternate from left brain to right brain activities. This prevents burnouts. Left brain activities involve words, organizing and intense concentrating. Right brain tasks can be creating and socializing.

Another tip from the organizing book recommends to do demanding tasks when you are alert and easy more enjoyable things when you are tired.

It’s good to become aware as to when you are the most creative or productive. For me first thing in the morning are vivid with new ideas and ways to solve problems. I try to reserve this time for me. Then about 4pm, I slow down and look at the clock every few minutes. To keep going I have to do something active or take a cat nap. To maintain a rigorous schedule, like this week’s computer work, it helped immensely to drink tons of water, eat regularly, turn on the space heater, take breaks and go to the gym.

I am thankful I kept a list of what I did on the computer, because often it feels like nothing was accomplished since I can’t touch it. It was a grueling week and not the most enjoyable, but my brain feels less cluttered. Not all of the urgent computer tasks were finished last week, so I’m thinking for this week of doing half computer time and half making art. Yahoo! But first, I am taking the morning off.








P.S. Out of curiosity and consideration to my readers, are the studio updates too lengthy? For the artists out there, do the lists with bullet points freak you out? Is it too orderly? Is there something you would like to see more or less of? Please let me know. It would be super helpful.

read:
Week 8 HITS
Week 6 HITS
Table of Contents for HITS (Happenings in the Studio)





Blog Maintenance- Backing up

Can you count the number of times you've heard horror stories of technology crashing and losing all of the information? Cell phones? Computers? How many more stories will it take until you backup what is important to you? Today was the day for me. The blog is safe!

Backing up posts on a Blogger blog:

1. On Blogger go to Settings-Basic-Export.
This saves posts to your computer.
2. I made a folder on the desktop called "blog backup do every 15th" containing a folder called "Feb 09." Hopefully by having the reminder to back up every month, I really will do it.

Or back up posts by having a copy of each new post emailed to you when published. I didn't go this route, so you'll have to find the url. To stay organized set-up labels in Gmail to auto file incoming Blogger posts.

Backing up images on a Blogger blog:
1. Downloaded DownThemAll! which is an ad on for Firefox.
2. Go to the above link and clicked on the giant green button that reads "Ad to Firefox"
3. On the Firefox toolbar at the very top of the browser, click on Tools-DownThemAll Tools-Manager
4. Click on "Ad URL" and paste in the url for your Blogger blog. And tell it where to save the file. For me they are saved to the desktop in the folder called "Feb 09" inside of the "blog backup do every 15th" folder.
5. Click "Start!"

Surprisingly this didn't take much time. For you it will be even faster because the steps are lined out for you. Now you can sleep better at night.

If the content on your blog is super important, backup the posts and images onto your computer and keep that information in some other safe place. Like burn onto a DVD, put on a thumb drive or on an external hard drive, store in a fire proof safe, or leave a copy at your mom's house. Rule of thumb is to have three copies of your backed up files.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

10 Things About Me

1. Love sorting things: plastic caps, legos, jars of pens, hardware. It’s so bad I do it to relax.

2. Grew up in the countryside in England playing Robin Hood, while climbing all the trees in a dress.

3. Ambitious artist with atypical left-brain tendencies: organized, analytical and on-time for appointments and deadlines

4. I was picked for varsity softball in high school but I told the coach I’d rather play on JV because that coach didn’t take the fun out of the sport.

5. Thankful for my allergies to "all-things-American": gluten, dairy and eggs. Makes me more creative, healthy and explorative.

6. Dyslexic (when very tired)

7. When I was a kid, I’d regularly ask for ice as dessert when everyone else had ice cream. Sign of things to come? I still prefer fresh fruit, like a mango, to a sweet dessert.

8. Got my license the 1st semester of college when I was 17. Mom and I drove together because we had Spanish together.

9. For a year I worked in a castle. Had the key to every room including the tunnels, basements and attics. One time I slept on the roof by myself and was terrified that the mountain lions were going to find me.

10. I was home schooled full-time until 10th grade. I then went part-time to public school, because I thought I was missing something, and ended up graduating with a diploma. I loved being home schooled! I much prefer setting my own intense pace and choosing my own topics and ways of learning them.

Other Venues for Sharing Your Blog Posts

Besides waiting around for people to find your blog, how about linking your posts to an online "newspaper"?

I'm new to the scene, having signed up today on Stumble, Kirsty and Digg.

You can share articles, videos and images and rate other peoples' content.

To add a Digg This button at the end of your posts, get the HTML code here.

Then track to see if being apart of these communities drives in traffic by using something like Google Analytics and Bravenet.

I'll get back to you on how this works out for me.

How to make a custom signature

I've seen the custom signatures on some blogs, making them more memorable. After reading a tutorial that was written in plain English, I decided now is the time to make one.

The tutorial by Veronica uses live signature. I didn't go that route. Instead here's what I did:
1. Wrote my signature on paper
2. Took a photo with the digital camera
3. (Optional) Cropped and altered color in Photoshop
4. Insert the signature into the post just like a photo

It's as easy as that!!

How to add a Digg this Button after Individual Blogger Posts

Have you heard of Digg? It's a great way to share the content on your blog to improve traffic. Sign-up for a free account to post articles, videos and images. You'll also have the power to Digg other peoples content by clicking the Digg it button. Try it out by clicking the button at the end of this post.

Adding Digg this Button to Individual Posts
1. Copy and paste this code at the end of your post.
2. Be sure to add a < to the beginning of each line. I couldn't show you, since Blogger would automatically create the button.
3. You'll get an error when you hit publish. Ignore it. The HTML works.

div style='float:left; margin:-100px 10px 0px 0px'>
script type='text/javascript'>
digg_url = '';
/script>
script src='http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.js' type='text/javascript'/>
/div>
data:post.body/>
/p>
/script>

Adding Button Automatically to Every Post
1. On Blogger go to Dashboard-Settings-Formatting
3. Scroll down and paste code into "Post Template"
Now the Digg this button will show up at the end of each future post.






Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Organizing with a sharpie, blue paint, hooks and nail polish


































Hooks to empty up Cupboard Space
From the Dollar Store I picked up these hooks. The ones with double sided sticky foam fell right off the wall, so I super glued them to the wall. There hasn't been a problem since.

I hung up the measuring utensils and waffle iron because I use them every day. It is less frustrating to find them, now that they have a specific home. The waffle iron is resting on very big nails, called 16 penny. The towels take up less counter space by hanging them up.

Keys

I am always confusing the keys. Now I write with a sharpie on the key to denote where it goes, like “T” for trash and “G” for garage. Then I painted it with clear nail polish so the sharpie wouldn’t rub off. If you have your keys made at a shop that just makes keys, they can stamp with metal punches words of your choice like “house” or “backdoor.”

Removing Confusion as to what can be recycled




















Each city has different recycling centers, so check out what can be recycled in your city by going to the city dump's website. For those in Sacramento plastic bags can be put in the recycle bin but not for people living in San Francisco.





















In case you were wondering, I haven't made a compost bin yet. So for now the food scraps go here.

Check out more tips for Works-for-me-Wednesday.





Sunday, February 15, 2009

Week 6





















Week 6
All week I felt nickle and dimed with the little things that had to get done. All I wanted was to be in the studio. Being super sore and exhausted from working out also took took away from making art. After 5 weeks of going to the gym for 4 hours a week, that pace was no big deal. Then on Sunday, meeting with my personal trainer made me realized that I need to work harder to reach my goals. This week I clocked 8.5 hours at the gym most of which was yoga. For the first time ever I can touch one of my heels to the ground when doing the downward facing dog! Making progress like this is super encouraging and makes me want to do yoga constantly. I consider my health super important, because without it, I couldn't make art.


What did get done this week? Let's start with the miscellaneous items.

Random























Detail of The Pooh Wall. Worked on it from ages 11-14. It took so many years because most of the time I was living in Colorado. This left holidays in Sacramento to paint the wall.
  • freelance design for a promotional postcard for a tea and a retreat
  • started reading a photography book to improve my skill and demystify a few things
  • I missed 2nd Saturday!! It's just like 1st Thursdays in San Francisco and 1st Fridays in Oakland, where the galleries are open late and have receptions for the new artwork. It's great for networking, scoping out which galleries would be a good fit for your art and seeing what is being made. The event has been on my calendar, but I completely spaced it. Next month I am going for sure!
  • Designed a room make-over for my cousin K for her 13th birthday. It's going to involve magnetic paint and board games!
  • boxed up Ozolinsh blue-footed-boobie and gave it to Tim on Sunday for his birthday. He had the biggest grin. I burned him a cd of the boobie in progress.
  • social networking:
-joined two carnivals called Menu Plan Monday and Works-for-me-Wednesday to network and increase traffic to the blog. (Tip- I wrote all of the posts for these carnivals for the entire month and saved them as drafts. This way if I fall behind I don't have to skip a week. All I have to do is repost the draft so it have the current date and hit publish.)
-created new content for blog to entice readers to revisit the site.
- asked friends to swap recommendations on LinkedIn (as one of my teachers liked to call it, "Facebook for old people." LinkedIn is for increasing business relations to find jobs.)

Cactus Lights



















  • painted bedroom walls teal
  • made hardware for hanging lights
  • installed a group for the first time
  • took photos of lights over bed
  • bought tons more lamp shades
  • knit 8 feet
  • photographed Kandinsky Cactus Light during the day and at night (Tip- In school it was stressed that art doesn't exist until it's photographed. Often artwork is judged by a photo instead of being experienced in person. Just like you are viewing my art. A photo also documents ephemeral art, which is art that lasts a short time. Andy Goldsworthy's arrangements of icicles are a great example of the necessity of photographs. This is why I am learning to use my camera and in the past I have also hired photographers.)

Record Cover Plates














As a thank you to the artist that gave me 2 boxes of records, I cut her a cover plate with a record of her choice. I had planned on playing around with melting them this week, but other things took precedence. Hopefully this week there will be some heating, melting and forming!

For more photos of this week's creations click here.

Biggest Challenge
This week was freckled with frustration. When doing something for the first time I often forget that obtaining perfection and peak efficiency is not a realistic goal. Over the last seven days there were a lot of new experiences, so the frustration tagged along. Everything was taking longer than I wanted, putting me more and more behind.

Two summers ago when first learning to throw on the potter's wheel, I would frustrate myself so much that tears would well up. I’d get tense and sometimes have to take breaks out of agitation. The trick to throwing on the wheel is being relaxed. Knowing this made me more annoyed at myself for getting frustrated.

All I wanted was to make a pot in less than a couple of minutes. To remind myself that there is a learning curve I stamped a number on the bottom of each pot, denoting how many were made to date. When making my first identical set of mugs I berated myself for taking 15 minutes to throw each cup. A production potter would do it so much faster. Then when I stamped it with the numbers 7-10, a voice went off in my head and told me, "Hey! Cut yourself some slack! You have only thrown, trimmed and glazed 10 pots ever. These are a good weight, uniform and have a fairly even wall thickness. You mixed the glaze, and loaded the kiln. You controlled the glaze that is notorious for dripping. 15 minutes per cup is good."















Here's the photos of my first 6 months throwing on the wheel.

I mention the wheel throwing story because it reflects the mindset I had on Thursday. I was installing the family of Cactus Lights over my bed. The point was to illustrate various ways of hanging the lights for potential customers. The frustration was from the installation taking longer than I wanted and because my neck hurt from looking up for hours. It didn’t help that the quality of the photos reflected my rushed mood. The only thing I was happy with was the questionable green cup that ended up glowing way better than expected. I fell asleep with the cris crossed shadows and glowing cups over head.

In the morning lying in bed, swinging the lights full tilt, I made a mental list of what was learned from going through the painful first installation. The list had 11 things I hadn't know before. That surprised me because my mind was obsessing on what wasn’t accomplished. Without doing this "failed install" it would of been slow progress to refine the Cactus Lights. Feeling better about the time spent on the first install, that afternoon I went shopping for more lampshades. Later that day I was knitting with the dog on my lamp while watching on youtube Terry Pratchett's "The Color of Magic." I am back to being excited about the project and eager to tackle it again.




read:

Week 7 HITS
Week 5 HITS
Table of Contents for HITS (Happenings in the Studio)





Wednesday, February 11, 2009

$1 Store Tools















Most of my tools have come from the dollar store. I've saved so much money by shopping there first. Every $1 store carries different tools and brands. Most of them have held up great. It is a gamble, but you just never know. All the nails I've bought have bent in half, but you might buy a different brand at your dollar store and end up loving the nails. Be sure to keep an eye out for flimsy metal.

Tools from the $1 Store that work for me:
Painting supplies (rollers, brushes, trays)
Picture hanging hooks
Mini clamps
Handsaw (the 1st one I picked up was missing a nut that holds the blade in place. Be sure to check if all the pieces are there.)
Zipties
Hooks
Light bulbs
Super glue
6 inch level
Tie downs (rope, bungees)
Electrical tape
Allen wrench















Tools that I recommend to buy name-brand because the cheap ones break:
Drill Bits (Mine crumbled, snapped or twisted. My experience is that you have to buy name brand for sharp, well-made drill bits.)
Claw Hammer (The $1 Store hammer was so light it bounced off of nails when trying to hammer them in place. Also the claw for pulling out nails was bend together so there was no way to use it.)
Duct Tape (I bought an off brand duct tape and it wasn't sticky enough.)
Screw Drives (Same with drill bits, you can't skimp on this tool, otherwise the tip of the screw drivers get bent out of whack.)
Nails (Cheap nails bend in half! Now I buy boxes of nails from the hardware store to keep on hand.)
Caulking Gun (First time using it the caulking gun handle folded in half. Since I will only need one caulking gun ever, I splurged and bought the most heavy duty one at a hardware store for $8.)


Check out other great tips at wfmw. See you next Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Film Speed















I've taken a photography class and had private lessons, but still under pressure I confuse ISO, shutter and aperture. Hopefully reading this Idiot's book will help make these things sink in.












Today's lesson is about film speed. For my controlled studio lit shots of my non-moving sculptures, ISO 64 is ideal since it has the least amount of grain. The other thing I learned is that anything faster then 1/125 the camera needs to be on a tripod.






























Found a use for the champagne glasses. It's not celebration time yet, there's art to be made!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Week 5




















Week 5
When I was organizing and assessing what was accomplished in week 4, I felt very scattered from all the projects. This week I forced myself to focus on two projects: the miniature tipis (since I'm the most excited about them) and the vinyl record cover plates. Silly as it sounds, this was an agonizing decision. I feel like I should be able to constantly multitask and always be super productive and creative. This thinking needs to relax its unrealistic standards, because it causes lots of stress and frustration when I don't live up to these self-imposed rules. Wish I could say that after focusing for one week that I have it all figured out, but I have a ways to go.


Cactus Light
A friend commented this week on wanting an elastic light, so the priority shifted from tipis to lights.



















The black cord is elastic, so the light can be hung up from multiple points or from both ends.





















For more photos of the Cactus Light, check it out at the Picasa album called Week 5.

The Cactus Light is ideal for a small space because it can be pinned back when not in use. Since it hangs from the ceiling, it works great when there is no room for a floor lamp. Looks like a stalactite when hanging in a group. Can have multicolored lights or just blue ones. It is 4.5 feet tall. For each light the lampshades are customizable by number, size and color. Any length of light can be knit. Shoot me an order or your questions about pricing to elizabeth@elizabethsymington.com.

This week I...
  • Hunted for semi-opaque plastic cups for lamp shades
  • drilled 1/2" x 1/2" hole into bottom of cup without cracking Tip-set the drill to a slow speed and use a sharp bit. The plastic should come off in shavings, not as melted clumps. If this happens, let it cool then slow down the speed.
  • strung lights
  • photographed
  • calculated time and materials to price Cactus Light
Later this week there will be photos of the elastic light in the Kandansktipi. The lamp shades for the tipi are hand painted terracotta.


Mini Tipis
TOP SECRET for an upcoming practical joke


This is what you can know about them-over the last 7 days I...
  • Made 112 mini tipis
  • Improved efficiency in creating tipis from 10 to 23 TPH (Tipis Per Hour)
  • Tested various materials. Cost and labor in collecting materials were taken into consideration.
  • Experimented with different patterns of tipis and photographed for reference
  • Bought sheers (yahoo! I got to buy another tool!!)
  • Priced finished product
Photos coming soon


Record Cover Plates



























Researching online for what has been done with records, gave me an idea for my cover plates. It was the above candy dish that started the gears to move. I saw a video online on how to warp records into bowls by putting them in the oven. It was fun to make, but the end result was anticlimactic. But what about using this technique of softening the records and molding them into other shapes? I made a cover plate with edges that curve back, just like a regular plate. This added dimension makes the plate really pop.

What all went down in regard to the records:

  • googled "melting records"
  • made a bowl
  • made a cover plate with bent edges
  • made a vinyl template for cover plates. Tip- saving time is super important when mass producing. Originally I was using a utility knife and scoring the records 10 times per cut! Seeing that this made both hands exhausted and took lots of time, I used a jewelers saw. This proved to be so much faster!
  • Went to local jewelers' supply store and bought a gross of saw blades (that's 140 blades)
  • Hit up $1 Store for a hand saw and mini clamps for bench pin. Tip- Using a bench pin saved more time and was a lot more comfortable when cutting the records. I made one with scrap wood. Took about 5 minutes.
This coming week I'm going to experiment with heating the records over the gas burner and forming into shapes. I really want to try making ornate rings. I'm also going to make a jig for the dimensional cover plates.

Random
























More Blue-Footed Boobie photos here.
  • Raised table in studio about 6 inches by stacking 2 x 4s under the legs. My back is so much happier!
  • Blog Marketing-commented on Blogs of Note, read some articles on ProBlogger, made header for "Happenings in the Studio" using photoshop, wrote a months worth of post for Works-for-Me-Wednesday and for Menu Plan Monday (by participating in carnivals like these, I hope to increase traffic to my blog)
  • Painted teeth on Ozolinsh Boobie, signed and sealed with Krylon Crystal Clear
  • Photographed Ozolinsh and Old World Boobies
  • Cleaned studio and removed the white rug. The hardwood floor is much easier to clean.
  • Worked on elizabethsymington.com - removed the option to leave comments because of being constantly spammed, added tags to some posts, put up ad for "Happenings in the Studio"

Weekly Challenge


Setting Realistic Goals

I figured that by focusing on two projects for the week, at least one project could be knocked. Instead the plan for the mini tipis kept evolving from 120 to several hundred. I was making 10 TPH (Tipis Per Hour) but wanting 60 TPH. I’ve worked for several artists making mass multiples. When working for someone else, it’s up to them to decided that it is ok to spend a huge amount of time on a project with unforeseen clear future. They figure out how to best construct the object and the fastest way to create them. They set the pace of what is feasible to make per hour. Everything is different working for myself.









I told mom the goal was 30 TPH for Wednesday, taking into account the learning curve since it was the first day making them. Then build up to 60 TPH by revising and melding some steps. She asked if that pace was even possible. Shocked I replied that I hadn’t even thought there could be a cap on my production! Wednesday’s pace went from 10 to an unimpressive 13 TPH. I knew there was a better way to make them, but hadn’t figured out how just yet. I started to question if I was wasting my time. At the current rate the project was not feasible and unenjoyable because of the tedious pace. The entire next day I was in a funk. A few things were accomplished but not much. This added to the frustration.

Honestly, the motivation to get out of this ridiculous day-long depression was the thought of writing this post. I didn’t want to share that no more art was made after Wednesday because I hadn’t figured out how to increase the TPH. Thursday night lying in bed, going over the various steps for the mini tipis, I considered changing the material for the tipi covers. The idea questioned the concept of the tipi, but I gave myself permission to try it before letting it go. First thing Friday I got up at 7am and forced myself to work in the studio. When the hour was up, I didn’t want to take a break to make waffles. My late night revision worked beautifully! All day I alternated from speedy tipi making to cooking to yoga classes. At the end of the day the pace was 23 TPH!!! I was so relaxed and amped at the same time. I continue to feel encouraged and excited to make more tipis. As you know the details of the mini tipis are top secret, since they are for a practical joke. When the time is right, all will be revealed.




read:
Week 6 HITS
Week 4 HITS
Table of Contents for HITS (Happenings in the Studio)





Thursday, February 5, 2009

Newcomer to the 2009 Booklist

Book #7 for the year is Wreck this Journal by Keri Smith. I actually started reading it when I got it for Christmas, but since it's an unorthodox book that demands being dragged behind you on a walk or to burn a page, I forgot to include it on the reading list.

This book is ideal for me to trash my controlling, perfectionist tendencies. Thank you Auntie for the book!





















I documented with a sharpie on how I cracked the spine.















Here's the book after owning for less than an hour.





























































I am so glad I bought the organic fruit! Now you will think I always eat like this. :-)

Taking this photo made me collect the fruit stickers that were all over the house. For some reason it was too hard to put them in the book.

Reading the sticker page reminded me of a career that I wanted as a child: sticker designer for Chiquita banana. I tried to locate the sticker that captured my attention but it eludes me. I distinctly recall living in England wanting to design colorful and interesting banana stickers.

I searched the Chiquita site for the sticker in question, but still couldn't find it. Surprisingly the site is really interesting! I had to look around real quick then get back to posting, otherwise I would still be there listening to the original Chiquita jingle while reading about the history of the banana.

I miss the _________ in San Francisco
















Being a dork of high caliber who memorizes the function and names of random tools and reads books about hardware, I am not surprised that I miss the hardware stores in San Francisco.
My favorite being Brownies Hardware on Polk and Sacramento. I’d ride my foot-powered scooter 18 blocks (round trip) from the sculpture building to the hardware store. I could of gone to some place closer, but I knew Brownies would have what I was looking for. Plus the staff was always available to serve, knowledgeable and fast at the register.

The other hardware store that I miss is Cole Fox on 4th between Market and Mission. Skating around town I’d make detours to see the highly creative window displays. Masterminds Noelle and Dominique are the visual merchandising team. That is a job that I would love to do! I could use anything from the hardware store to try and entice people to shop there. That sounds like so much fun! Borrowed from google images are photos of various window displays that the ladies have created. These photos don't do them justice.















I got to see this one. The umbrellas were on motors, making them rotate in place.
















This is a close up shot from the April Showers Window. I am such a sucker for orange!






























I discovered my new favorite "squeak eraser" in my mom's tool box! I just took a break from typing to use it on my desk because I couldn't take another "erreeeekk." It's the WD-40 No-Mess Pen. It's shaped like a marker making it easier to target the squeak. Better yet, it doesn't smell like the spray can stuff. I didn't have to move my computer and go type some place else.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Week 4

I tried to make this post short, except a lot was accomplished this week. So I included lots of photos to keep it interesting.


Ozolinsh Blue-Footed Boobie




















Naked, angry, plaster blue-footed boobie. (It's a real bird. My brother told me so.) I cast the bird from a mold I made of his ceramic brother. Let me tell you how great it feels to have this done after thinking about it for 4 years!!! I am so happy with the result. I can't wait to give it to my brother for his birthday in a couple of weeks.




























































































Where the magic took place-on top of an orange paint can to save my neck! The laptop helped out a ton by giving me reference for the Shark's jersey and the spelling of Tim's favorite defense man, Ozolinsh. It only took 10 hours, house paint, Krylon crystal clear spray and 3 thin tip sharpies.


Record Cover Plates








































  • Sealed, adjusted and installed the prototypes at my Aunt and Uncle's house
  • Received a gift of 2 boxes of records thanks to a very generous local painter that I found on Craigslist in the artists' form. My favorite record is of the Mickey Mouse Club. When I was 5 and Tim was 6, we'd exercise in front of the TV trying to follow along with Disney's Mousersize. The home video is super adorable.
  • Researched on etsy.com the price range for homemade cover plates-$8.50


Hanging Lights- In need of a better name!
There is one completed light, with 5 sections to it, but I haven't taken any photos of it yet. Image 5 more glowing lampshades hanging inside of this "sock," about 7 feet tall. The plan is to make more this week- pictures real soon.

Any ideas for a name, other than stretchy hanging light??? Suggestions welcome.








































  • Knit 5 feet of black elastic
  • Found another ideal cup for the lampshade at the thrift store. I'm starting to be recognized as a regular.
  • Placed an ad on Craigslist and FreeCycle for 3 string, small bulb Christmas lights that work. Thanks to a couple on FC, they gave me 3 bags of lights!

Organizing




















WOW! It's the floor! And no, I didn't cram everything in the closet. The closet is already full and inventoried. I am so close to being unpacked and organized. About 8 boxes to go.
















Leaving table and floor space to make art, makes the walls for tools and art supplies. I've gone a bit nuts with nails as hooks. I even hung up the waffle iron in the kitchen with three 16 penny nails. The nice thing is that I don't have to hunt for it anymore. My dream kitchen would be laid out like my studio; no cupboards. Everything hanging on the wall and outlined so it would be put back in the exact same spot.





















I literally moved the Braille boards seven times around the studio floor, until I realized they had to go on the wall. I cleaned off the top of the orange bookshelf and designated it for office supplies. Can you tell I don't use the printer all that often?
















After rearranging my room, I have so much more space! It's a weird concept when you think of it. Where is this extra space coming from? Either way I can now use either the laptop or the sewing machine without moving either one. It's the little things that make me so happy.


Mini Tipis
  • Made prototype and experimented with various stitching patterns that my sewing machine can do. Also played around with a faster way to construct them.
  • Tied up tripod for 30 mini tipis all around 8-12 inches tall
  • Stay tuned for photos. It will be worth the wait.

Big Tipis
  • Painted some more on the Kandinsktipi
  • Bought 8-8 foot tree stakes- yah for Craigslist!
  • Had this idea about renting out 10 foot tipis at the drive-in. Maybe show a Western movie. The drive-in is also seen from the freeway, so bingo! on the advertising for both the theater and for me.

Random














  • Rediscovered Craigslist and FreeCycle. Thank you mom for helping me out by registering me with FreeCycle. By doing that I gave them one last try (due to confusing web design) and I am so glad I did. Hello free art supplies!
  • Made list of goals: 1) expand portfolio, 2) generate income. It's sad I needed to write these down, but I have issues with staying focused. Everything is so new and shiny that I bounce around.
  • Bought Wellingtons for when the grass is wet in the backyard. These black boots take me back to England. Plus I am partial to “ingtons”. Seriously. I also found a super cute and warm, cheap hat from the thrift store, that covers my ears. I can't wait to wear my boots and hat to go paint the tipi!
  • Blogged a ton
  • Received blurb books within 4 days of ordering. Mom is thrilled with her copy. I am really pleased to. Order your own at blurb's site.

Weekly Challenge
Being a natural list maker and planner, I tend to get myself stuck in the planning stage until the entire project is figured out. Following this strategy is why I had a plaster boobie, unpainted for 4 years. If the end result isn't planned to meet my high expectations, then I often won't start the project. The thinking is why waste time making something when I don't know the exact direction.

I've noticed that I admire those who have a general plan, start working and revise as they create. Now I am letting myself plan a week out in advance, instead of 3 months (aka a semester, which no longer applies to me). A week is a doable amount of time. It reduces stress and worrying.

I get scared and shut down when I think about the future. I really do have to take art making one step at a time: 1) create prototypes, 2) time myself and price the entire project, 3) create an inventory, 4) market and sell art, and 5) revise design and keep working.

Writing what I did over the past 7 days keeps me accountable. I doubt anyone would ever write a complaint demanding for the latest "Happenings in the Studio," but it's motivation all the same. Since I don't have a network here of artists or an assistant, my blogging will be my support system.

I tend to dwell on what didn't get accomplished. But by organizing what was completed in a week, I relax and acknowledge that I am making progress.




read:
Week 5 HITS
Week 3 HITS
Table of Contents for HITS (Happenings in the Studio)