Okay, my blog is NOW live on Lion-Eyed Girl! There was some problem with my domain forwarding. It was all my fault.

You can surf there now to keep up with my adventures! See you there!



My blog has moved!

Please visit www.lioneyedgirl.com for further posts! This blog will stay up until I figure out how to migrate my posts here to my new page as archives.

I've also launched a brand new Twitter @lioneyedgirl & a new facebook page, too: Lion-Eyed Girl. Follow and Like me there to keep up with my current projects and thoughts.

Thanks so much!


Giving Your Creativity Free Reign

All my soldering equipment finally made its way to me yesterday afternoon. I set up my station and waited. I was so nervous. Would it still be as easy as it was in the class? What if I lost my touch? What if the cat got curious and singed a whisker?

So many worries so it took me a while to come back to my station and get to work. When I finally did, I was so wonderful. I was very anxious about using my iron around my cat who constantly comes and plants her furry butt right in the middle of my projects, but she stayed away, thankfully.

I often let my anxiety get the best of me, especially when it comes to my art. I get anxious that I won't be good enough, that no one will like my pieces, that I will invariably waste precious supplies making things that aren't beautiful. I would be lying if I said it was easy to combat those nagging voices in my head.

The best solution I've found is channeling that frustration and just diving in. Sometimes, I'll make a time commitment: I'm going to work for two hours without interruption and see where that gets me. I've even started using what I call my "studio rituals." When I come into my studio to work, I start incense, put on some good music, light a candle, say an affirmation (currently, "I give my creativity and joy in living free reign."), write three pages in my art journal and then, after I'm properly focused, delve right into my work.

That might see like a lot to do, but it really works. You have to invest in yourself and invest time into your creativity, not just with simply creating things, but setting the stage, too. Who can work when their family keeps interrupting or you're not sure how much time you have to dedicate to a project every day?

Really, it makes things simpler.

And here are the pendants I made last night using themed scrapbook paper:

Still need to tweak the process a little and get some better jump rings. I plan on coating the solder with bronze surfacer to match the brass I use in my jewelry.

What are some of your studio rituals to get you in the creative mindset?


Finding Opportunities to Live Out Loud

As I blogged last time, I lost my job on my birthday. Fortuitously, a place I have long admired posted that they were hiring in a local art community page that night. I applied and got the job! I had told the owners many times over the two years they've been open that I would love to work for them. If I had still been employed that day, I wouldn't have even been able to consider working for them.

I'll be working for a local creative reuse center as their merchandiser. It may not sound like a huge task because its technically a small building, but its going to take some weeks to get everything in order there, especially since there is new merchandise arriving daily. You might remember that I took some classes there recently. I just adore that place and the people who run it.

Just on the day to day business of keeping the store nice and orderly, I'll be meeting lots of creative people who come in looking for neat things to use in their art. It will be lovely to work for a place whose mission I agree with and support instead of a place that makes me feel like I am at a dead-end pushing paperwork all day.

In the meantime, while I am waiting for the my first day at the center, I have been keeping busy making jewelry. Here are two pieces I finished last night:

Bracelet: brass, vintage Czech glass, Czech crystal. 7.5"

Black version of my Ghost necklace:
brass, black agate, glass, Czech crystal, Swarovski crystal. 22"
Today, my new soldering iron arrives so I'll be busy making lots of new trinkets to add to my jewelry designs. It might even be occasion to post on a Saturday! Hear, hear!

How will you be finding opportunities to create and live positively this Friday?


With all ends come new beginnings

Last Thursday was my birthday. My thirty-second, actually. I had dinner plans with my family, more dinner plans with friends for the next day and a birthday party on Saturday. When I got called into the conference room at work by the office manager, I was wondering what was up because nobody had even said anything about it being my birthday.

"We're going to have to let you go," is what she told me. I'd been missing too much work for being sick and other problems related to changing my medications. I thought I had staved off the inevitable by trying harder to come in and working hard throughout the week. But, like I said, it was inevitable; but did it have to be on my birthday?

Talk about a huge letdown. Its been a few days: five, to be exact and I'm still reeling. Sure, I've been fired before, but I'd also had problems at work before because of my illness and my former employers had tried hard to work around my problems and help me keep my job because I had good personal relationships with my bosses. I was left wondering if I had been fired instead of worked with because they didn't like me as a person.

I'll never know and it really doesn't matter. I didn't like my job very much and only took it because it was available to me. My true passion isn't filing paperwork endlessly or scanning in documents for digital retrieval; its art. All kinds of beautiful, creative, expressive Art. The night of my birthday, a new job opportunity popped and, should I get it, it will afford me the opportunity to work with people I like in a creative environment, give me access to lots of fun raw materials and introduce me to creative people from all over Houston.

My interview is on Wednesday. I'll be crossing all my fingers and toes and pigtails until then.

In other news, I took an assemblage class at Texas Art Asylum with local artist, David Pilgrim on Saturday. I sure did need the pick-me-up. In three hours, David shared all his assemblage tips, tricks and techniques with a small class of students and I created this:

"Our Lady of Forgotten Mercies"

You won't believe how fun and easy assemblage is! I went out that night and did a small round-up of bits and bobs to work with. Last night, I started my second assemblage ever. I think it turned out pretty neat. That will be a separate blog post for later this week (maybe even today).

If I was working day, I wouldn't have been able to stay up past 3am and create. I'm going to take advantage of this small bit of time to myself during the days and create, create, create!

If you lost your job, what is the first thing you would do to bring positive energy back to your life?


Unlocking Your Creative Spirit

A few weeks ago, I ordered a book I'd been jonesing for on Amazon, The Crafter's Devotional: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit by Barbara R. Call. I finally finished it last night after reading a few pages every night at bedtime. It's super fabulous and really, truly full of neat tips, trick and techniques for finding inspirational every day.

This book includes everything from beginning beading, collage and scrapbooking, image transfers, altering books as well as ideas like taking your work outside for day, creating a 3D family tree and making your own journals for thinking and reflecting.

I experienced a couple synchronicities with this book. Most notably, I received a coaching newsletter talking about gratitude and how to experience it daily, almost like a meditation. One of the last weeks covered in my book was about starting a gratitude journal: finding 5 things to be thankful for every day. Could be as small as "I'm grateful for my hilarious pets," or something as momentous as "I'm grateful for the raise I received at work today."

One of the things I'm grateful for my friends and family who are working hard to get my Indiegogo campaign off the ground this first week.

Another thing my book talked about was the concept developed by Julie Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, called "filling the well." Every creative person has a "well" inside them where their ideas come from. Julia Cameron said that we must fill that well regularly or risk it running dry and leaving us without any inspiration from which to work. Julia created "Artist Dates" where you take 2 hours a week and visit a zoo, take a long hike, go to a museum and fill your well with images, colors, sights and sounds to inspire the rest of your week.

I've already planned out some Artist Dates with myself for the next few weeks: the local zen & rose garden, a sculpture garden, a beautiful 19th century church in downtown Houston, the beach and the Jung Center of Houston. All free save for what it costs in gas to get there. I find that surrounding myself with nature fills my well more rapidly than seeing a movie or visiting a museum.

What are ways you choose to fill your well?


Surviving & Thriving: My Journey of Recovery

For those of you who know me personally, you would know that I'm a survivor of a sexual assault. On July 13, 2008, a man walking down my street raped me as I came home from a night out with friends. I escaped him and eventually sent him to prison for 40 years. I am very thankful to all the doctors, nurses, police officers and my prosecutor who helped me fight back as well as my friends and family who rallied around me. I am currently writing a book about my experience.

Since the 4th anniversary of this terrible event just passed, I've been wrestling with lingering feelings of anger and, to be exact, rage. Through the power of my will, I turned my rape into a thing that changed my life for the better. I went back to college, I found a job that makes me happy and, after much soul-searching, I returned to my art.

This weekend, I finally sat down to put my feelings on canvas. I created a series of five paintings I called the Rage series. Its abstract, angry and very much a relief. Here they are, photographed on the spot in my studio in terrible lighting. :)

Rage: Born In Blood
18"x18" - Acrylic on Canvas Panel

Rage: Cast Into Hell
12"x24" - Acrylic on Canvas

Rage: The Chaos You Gave Me
12"x24" - Acrylic on Canvas

Rage: Eaten From the Inside
16"x20" - Acrylic on Canvas

Rage: Scouring the Wounds
12"x24" - Acrylic on Canvas Panel

I will be showing this paintings at JoMar Visions' "Red Hot Like Summer" show on August 18th. The theme of the show is the color red, so these fit perfectly. If you are in the Houston area, please stop by and say, "hi."

Do you use your art to feel out trapped emotions and frustrations? What event have you captured in your art?


Adventures with Solder

On a last-minute whim, I decided to enroll in the Soldered Jewelry class offered at Texas Art Asylum here in town. The Asylum is a fabulous place near downtown Houston that is an artist's and crafter's dream. Its filled with all sorts of goodies for upcycling, recycling and creative reuse. Things like doll parts, glass vials, license plates, typewriter keys, vintage jewelry, interior design samplers, vintage picture frames and oodles more wonderful hard-to-find things.

I end up spending a lot of money there when I shop because everything screams out to me for me to take whatever it is home and create something. That's how I have a bunch of porcelain doll heads, rusty utensils, glass paint, gorgeous fabric remnants and antique casters. Yeah, sometimes I'm not sure what I'm thinking.

The class was offered inside the workshop and everything was supplied - the flux, solder, glass plates, ceramic work surface (a 12"x12" tile), copper tape, etc - but for the soldering iron which I brought. What a fascinating process! I'd tried unsuccessfully to solder a suncatcher before so this class really helped fill in the chunks of knowledge I was missing.

The instructor was Houston artist Lorraine Richardson. You can check out more of her work on my facebook page: Bits & Bobs.

All nine students made one double-sided glass pendant from vintage papers (some people made tiny collages). I used a beautiful damask looking napkin for my pendant. Here is one side:

Isn't that fabulous? If I subtract all the time I spent futzing with my sub-par soldering iron, this probably took me about 30 minutes to make from cutting the paper, to copper-taping it to soldering the tape and the jump ring on.

The instructor had several samples to show us and the world this opens up for me is tremendous. She basically made tiny shadow boxes out of metal and I instantly fell in love. I can't wait to make more for family, friends and my lovely customers!

Anybody out there into creating soldered jewelry? What has your experience been?


We are LIVE!!!!!

Here is the information on my IndieGoGo Campaign! We're going to have lots of updates for people over the next few days and weeks. Please share where you can. Thanks so much!

Launching & Crowdsourcing into Outer Space

Tonite, I will begin my crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo.com to fund more growth for Gold & Apel. I've got my little script, my budget, my rewards list and my video stills ready. Just have to film the me-parts and edit it all down to a sweet little clip.

I am so very excited about this huge new step for my company. I've been following Tara Gentile over at ScoutieGirl.com and Andreaa Ayers at Joy, Launch, Grow for a while and, earlier this week, I subscribed to Tara Mohr's newsletter. Been getting really inspired by the over-reaching "THE RIGHT TIME IS NOW!" message in their recent writings. I had been toying with starting a campaign a few years ago and I finally decided that Now is The Time. If I don't take this step this week, I might never do it.

As my desire to make Gold & Apel a first-rate company offering amazing Art & Curios for Home + Body has increased, my motivation has been ramping up, especially when fueled by the wonderful newsletters, e-books and e-courses being offered by the ladies mentioned above. And my motivation shooting towards the stars makes me want to reach my goals even more. Its the reverse of a vicious cycle; its a Virtuous Circle. I'm just spiraling up and up and up and up!

Thank you for joining me on this journey and keep your eyes out for our campaign link!