Thursday, March 31, 2011

Out Being Extroverted

Just got back from being extroverted for my second book signing.  So much for my comfortable anonymity.  It wasn't so bad thanks to friends who came to support me.  Not something I want to do every day, but not as bad as I thought.  Now I'm home again, in my comfy clothes, with one fuzzy little smiling cat warming my lap.  Ah, my introverted self is much happier now!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Memories of Paris

This week's Etsy Team Undiscovered Treasury Challenge theme was French Lavender.  When I think French, I think of my trip to Paris.  I so enjoyed planning out each day's adventure, walking to all of my destinations, popping my head in to see the amazing architecture of every church or cathedral I passed, visiting the wonderful museums and public gardens, eating the food...  The most important words I learned in French were "Un chocolat eclair, s'il vous plait....Merci!" 

'Memories of Paris with a Hint of Lavender (Team Undiscovered Challenge)' 

The World Traveler (Par...

Eiffel Tower - Fine Art...

Dark Lavender Swirl - L...

Sunset Over the Seine

Sea Shell Beret felt

Bon Jour No.1 - giclee ...

Notre Dame, 8x10 Black ...

Ready to ship Cafe'...

Paris Carousel Fine Art...

Fun Fluffy Birthday Par...

Lush Lavender - Essenti...

Old Fashioned Garden Fl...

Chocolate e-clair desse...

Pearls and Tea Cup Fine...

Red Door in Paris - 8 x...

euroweeksale Rodolfo, a...

(As always, these treasuries look better at the Etsy site because they show the photos 4 across and I design my treasury for that.  So, do click on the treasury title above the photos to see the original treasury!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Reminders of Spring

It has gotten colder again with snow yesterday and the possibility of more tomorrow.  So, more flower photos to remind myself it's really Spring.  The lilacs are coming and the forsythia is blooming.  Repeat after me: "Spring is here. Spring is here."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Suburban Sameness

I have no photo for today. We visited suburbia this weekend. I'm still trying to shake the experience. The traffic. The sameness. The chain stores and restaurants. Anywhere USA. Why would I want to photograph that? 

And when did we become a country that thinks its better to import everything and support big non-local businesses? It's so much more satisfying to buy from a small local business where you know the owner and that your money is going back into your local economy. Even if it costs a little more. For those of you who can't find any small local businesses anymore, Etsy and some of the other on-line arts and crafts venues provide an equally noble purchasing experience where you can be pretty sure you are supporting a small local business somewhere even if it isn't in your home suburb. Try it. See how much better your shopping and dining experiences can be.   

Thursday, March 24, 2011

And Now A Word From the Cat

Hey! Smiling Cat here. I heard my human say she wouldn't have the chance to blog tonight, so I thought I'd sneak in and introduce myself.  After all, without me, there wouldn't be a Smiling Cat Studio. I'm the CEO, President, and brains behind the business. My human is the creative force, but I'm in charge.  Don't let her tell you otherwise. While she's at work, I'm here at the computer eating tweets, blogging, and Skyping with my other cat friends about the latest marketing trends and such. I'll tell you more about me another night. It's time for my evening nap. See ya!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nothing But Blue Skies Do I See

This week's Team Undiscovered Treasury Challenge theme is "Over the Rainbow" where everyone knows, "skies are blue" which sort of morphed into the song "Blue Skies" for me and a line of the song came to mind...

'Nothing But Blue Skies Do I See (Team Undiscovered Challenge)' by SmilingCatStudio

This is my entry in the Wednesday Team Undiscovered Treasury Challenge. The theme this week is "Over the Rainbow" where skies are blue.Learn more about Team Undiscovered


Blue Sky Gradient Hand ...

Snowdrop flower against...

Original Acrylic Painti...

Seeds in the Wind- an o...

eco chic coasters - zen...

Float Away with Me - Ar...

FAIRY WINGS. Mixed Medi...

Tree against blue sky

Colorado Night Sky Phot...

Blue Skies Blown Glass ...

Nature Digital Photo Ca...

Daisies and Blue Sky

Blue Skies Fused Glass ...

Bare Tree Blue Sky - Sq...

Blue Sky Windows 8x10 ...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Driveway Moment

I'm a big fan of NPR. I've found as I've gotten older that I prefer classical and jazz to most everything else on the radio. I'd rather listen to their in-depth news stories in the morning than the inane prattle of the morning d.j.s.  I'm not above listening to pop and know my way around Pink, the Black-Eyed Peas, and Katie Perry, but if I'm trying to concentrate, Bach, Mozart, Rossini, and Gershwin win out.

Especially when NPR is fundraising (which unfortunately may happen more often if Congress has its way), the hosts talk about "driveway moments" - those times when you're listening to a news story that is just so compelling that you have to listen to the end even though you've gotten home and sitting in your car in your driveway.  I had one of those moments this afternoon. There was a story about an Army vet who had fought in Iraq and come home with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. He hadn't gotten the care he needed and his life culminated in a 2+ hour standoff with police.  The story lasted most of my half hour drive home and was really well done. I had to sit in the driveway and find out how the standoff ended. He's finally getting help and has hope in his life again. But I had to know. Thanks NPR, for a great driveway moment. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Monday!

It's possible that I'm the only person who really likes Mondays.  I'll admit, I didn't used to.  This is a very recent thing.  Since the beginning of the year, I've had Mondays off to do as I please.  It's a quiet day with just me, the smiling cat, my local NPR station's classical music, my computer, and my sketchbook.  I can be creative.  I can learn more about marketing my Etsy shop.  I can come up with new ideas.  I can catch up with my life if I have to.  Mondays are good. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

UFO Sightings!

UFOs. You've got 'em. You know you have. Un-Finished Objects.  My life is full of them. Baskets started at basket conventions. A crocheted potholder I started in a class, then decided crocheting wasn't for me. A kit for a second smocked Christmas ball (I finished the first). Several needlepoint kits I started then found the up-down plain old single stitch boring and never finished. The book, David Copperfield, started before Christmas and still sitting on my nightstand. A Master's thesis. A blanket of Swedish Embroidery that just needs the edging done. The organization of all the recipes I am forever cutting out of magazines. A knitted afghan received as a gift in the 70's that won't ever be finished as is because of the colors (gold, brown, yellow, 70's for sure).  The renovation of our house. The garden. And I could go on.  I'm sure you have your own list.

Every once in a while though, rather than focusing on the things I haven't finished, I focus on those I have.  The beautiful baskets displayed in our house.  All of the Christmas ornaments I've made for friends and family. The blankets I've knit and embroidered. The Master's thesis I did finish. The 3 books I've published. The websites and other graphic design I've completed. The art I've created. This blog.

Keep the UFOs in perspective.  They mean I have lots of interests and talents. That the world is a big place and I'm trying to experience as much as I can.  I'll finish some of the UFOs one day.  But I also plan to create many more as I continue to try new and different things that inform my life and my art.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Weekend Renovation Exercise Routine

How do I spend my weekends?  My husband and I recently bought a fixer-upper near our house that we are working on.  We're preservationists, so old houses intrigue us and we hate to see any that are unloved and in disrepair.  So, when we found just such a house only two blocks away that was an amazing deal, we jumped on it.  You can learn more about our projects at my other blog, T Squared's Four Square

But that's not what this posting is about.  It's about the amazing workout I'm getting as we remove plaster and walls to add insulation, wiring, plumbing, and change the floor layout of the house.  I think maybe I should patent it: 

Swing the 12lb sledge hammer.  Swing.  Swing.  Swing.  Pull on the plaster and wood lath strips.  Pull.  Pull.  Pull.  Swing. Swing. Swing.  Squat.  Hold it.  Pull.  Pull.  Pull.  Stand and reach over your head and swing.  Swing.  Swing.  With hands still over head, pull.  Pull.  Pull.  Okay, now, use your right hand to lift the 100lb trash can (with a partner holding the other side).  Now, walk it to the dumpster.  Walk.  Walk.  Walk.  Now lift it over the edge of the dumpster and dump.  Walk.  Walk.  Walk, back to the house.  Repeat for 4-5 hours or until exhausted. 

There are variations too.  Use the 20lb sledge hammer.  Or, fill the trash can with more plaster so that it is heavier.  Or, start working on the second floor to throw in some stairs in the "Walk. Walk. Walk." section.  Strength training, stretching, and cardio all in one workout!

I can see the DVD now with me in my hardhat, work boots, dust mask, and safety glasses.  I'm sure I'd get quite the following.  I see riches in my future! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Adjusting to the Time Change (Not!)

We're almost a week into the time change, and I'm still not quite getting into it.  Just when it was actually getting light in the morning when it's time to get up, they pop the time forward so it's pitch dark at 6am.  I'm going to bed too late and getting up too late.  I have more motivation in the evenings because it's still light, but if I'm going to get up with the chickens, I think I'd rather have the light in the morning.  Makes it feel more springy.  Light in the evening makes it feel like summer and Heaven knows we don't want to rush that or it'll be Christmas before we know it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Home Sweet Home (With a Cat)

I am a member of Etsy Team Undiscovered.  We are a group of Etsy shops with few sales working together to learn the ropes and get "discovered".  Each Wednesday, we participate in a Treasury Challenge with a common theme.  (This week's was "Home Sweet Home".)  Then we get the word out about the treasury.  The four shops with the highest number of treasury visits are then voted on by team members and the shop with the highest number of votes is featured on the Team Undiscovered blog on Monday.

This is my treasury this week.  I think you actually have to click on the name of the treasury and go to Etsy for it to count as a visit.  Enjoy!

'Home Sweet Home (Team Undiscovered Treasury)' 
by SmilingCatStudio

Things that make a home a home (including the cat of course).A Wednesday Team Undiscovered Treasury Challenge. Visit for more information about the team.

Seasons Art Quilt

One Leaf Mug - Green an...

Sample 6 Organic Peanut...

Old Vine Grapevine Side...

Custom Wood Rocking Cha...

HOME set of magnets - o...

Storage Basket

ON SALE Love Alone 16x...

eco chic coasters - cit...

Dream Me Candle - 8oz E...

12x12 Blue Iridescent D...

Lily, OOAK 9 inch Mohai...

Sun Worshiper Kitty Bow...

Woven Merino Blanket in...

Vintage Books - 8x8 Lim...

The Love Bird Lodge fro...