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Part 1 : 100 1" Collage Squares

"Art does not reproduce the visible; it makes things visible."
~ Paul Klee

Ever sign up for a swap, only to initially look it over..
and wonder what exactly you were thinking?
You dreadfully start working on it..
expecting to find it tedious..
can't wait for it to end..
only to find that ..

Surprise!! You LOVE it!

The creating process begins..
and before you know it, hours have passed..
and your inner inspiration genie has received a new life!

Well, that's exactly what this swap has done to me.. once I saw just how tiny 1" was.. I groaned, that is, until I began creating these darling pieces .. an addiction has been born! I've always love miniature anything, these are no exception.

"An inch in a man's nose is much."
~H. G. Bohn

Here's the scoop .. the swap is through Altered Art Obsession .. hosted by the ingenious TisJewel.. to create 100 ( yes, 100) Original, one of a kind .. 1" by 1" collaged squares.. they must be mixed media, each must contain one picture, and at least one word.. Whatcha think about that? Once she swaps 'em out, we will receive 100 squares back, and complete it by creating an accordion book, a 10" x 10" piece..or any other creative way to use them, keeping them all in tact and together.

"Art means to dare—and to have been right."
~ Ned Rorem

All of mine were created on 140lb watercolor paper, with hand painted backgrounds and have inked edges (as i've said many a time before a must for a finished look!).. I have all 100 cut, all contain images .. and now I'm in the process of adding embellishments, whimsical hand drawn elements, text, shadows and more.. I'm actually finishing these early for once - as I want them done before my upcoming surgery.

"No matter how substandard you feel your skill or talent may be, If you never produce your art, the world will always remain deprived of it."
~ Derek R. Audette

Here's a sneak peek at the first 20 I have completed .. I'll continue sharing them in batches, as I complete them..

So whatcha think? I'd love to hear your thoughts on them! I'm also open to suggestions, on how to arrange them once I receive them!



Art Marker Organization & Store Special!

 Whew! Is it really Friday already? Where exactly did the week go?

 I suppose time flies when you're working hard...

 Not having an income the last few weeks has definitely hurt me financially, and spending to organize... just made what was already bad, worse (but I'd do it again in a heartbeat - there is NO price to peace of mind, and feeling in control of clutter!)... customers have been emailing me asking me to list various items they need until The Altered Abbey is up & running...  

Can I just say... it feels oh-so-good to be getting back in the swing of it all!

Mission: Organzation - Spotlight on Art Marker Storage
(when at flickr to see the pics, be sure to click all sizes to view it larger)


 As promised.. I'm starting to highlight various parts of my art studio/crafting room... hopefully someone will be inspired, or find it useful! On days where I have a bit more time, I'll be sure to elaborate on some other ideas for organizing.. I have no idea how I let it all get so out of control, especially when I'm so well... darned anal!

 Since this was asked.. I thought I'd begin with my art marker and pen storage ..

(The Lovely Postcards displayed are from Paper Relics)

 I splurged on these, and it wasn't initially in my small budget.. but I had a heckuva time finding anything out there that would work for what I needed. Previously, I had about 5 different pen holders clogging up my workspace, and an out of control drawer full of sharpies, markers, and more..  While it held these items, I found I didn't get use out of 90 percent of them.. it was just such a hassle to find what I needed. Who wants to buy supplies to not use them? I knew I wanted the markers & pens visible and within reach, sorted by type, to accomodate markers of various sizes, and to lay on their sides (increases ink flow or sumthin' I'm told)... I also knew I'd continue adding to these, and needed room to grow... So here was my solution!


 I chose to place them on my drawer units on my work table (I'll highlight those next!), so I could easily reach them, and return them to their spots easily once I was done using them.

 The markers and pens are sorted by type into the x-cubes, and come with metal clips that allow you to clip them together, stack them .. and create your own customizable storage unit/space. I chose just to align mine horizontally, to help keep the clean/neat feeling.. I already think that area feels cluttered, so I wanted to minimize that feeling...clean lines helped that. As I stated earlier, I also purchased the double cubes which hold other odds n ends I wanted within reach as well.


 (Birdie Pin Cushion from Lampe's Lumps)

This is the single shelf cube .. perfect for holding paper to test pens on, my india inks, and alcohol inks!


 Now that I've had time to work in there.. Would I buy them again? ABSOLUTLY!

 It's tripled my tabletop space, I can see what I have at a glance, I use what I have, It's easy to put back (and keep my studio clean) ... and can be stacked differently should I ever need to, and can be expanded.. so very well worth it! I'm debating on moving my watercolor pencils, and crayons out of their tins and into this..

It's called: The Eldon Shelf Saving System..
I bought them through Office Depot:
Click Here to See..

Office Depot offers free next day shipping on orders over $50.00, Quantity Discounts and tons of coupons are available to use in combination.. this was where I found them to be most economical. The X Cube is what I bought most of, along with 2 double cubes, and a single shelf cube... 

 Some of the markers/pens you see in the photos.. ( I just know someone will ask!)

Other ideas I found for Art Marker Storage...but didn't like for one reason or another.. someone else may find it suits their needs though!

Well, Let me know if this was useful -- and if you have additional questions! I'll answer in the next post, and spotlight another area of my studio! I'm rushing right now, with very lil time to edit this.. ikes!

 Have a fabulous Friday!

 - Chrysti


Depression and Art

Sorry I haven't been around much -- I have been in sort of a funk, or more accurately a depressive cycle.. and it's never been my strong suit to communicate effectively when I am at that end of my mood swings.

It always seems to come across wrong... If what I have to say is even coherent... the words read as if I am asking for help, or sympathy.. and I've never been comfortable with either of those things. Besides, it's almost impossible for words to capture the depth of the emotions, those that are also bipolar, or have lived with severe depression, can probably relate. Words almost seem to gloss it over, trivialize it... and I end up reading it, and feeling worse. So, I'm not going there right now. 


“I start to feel like I can’t maintain the facade any longer, that I may just start to show through. And I wish I knew what was wrong. Maybe something about how stupid my whole life is. I don’t know. Why does the rest of the world put up with the hypocrisy, the need to put a happy face on sorrow, the need to keep on keeping on?... I don’t know the answer, I know only that I can’t. I don't want any more vicissitudes, I don't want any more of this try, try again stuff. I just want out. I’ve had it. I am so tired.”
-Elizabeth Wurtzel

So, What do I do when I feel myself slipping a bit lower like this?

(aside from becoming reclusive so I can focus)

I force myself to do anything productive..

Literally, some days just taking a shower is a chore. I make a to do list, that has realistic, simple to-do's. Attainable things. The absolute necessary things. I try like hell not to focus on all the other things looming, and only knock out the small things that I have control over. It's been my experience, that when I remind myself I do have some power  - I slowly pull out of the depressive cycles, and I think that's the place I'm in now... slowly pulling out. Sometimes, I just wish I was like everyone else.. but really, we all have our own struggles, this just happens to be one of mine.

I truly do believe that Art Heals, and the pieces listed here have all been finished recently, and put up for sale... Odd, how the money struggles that partially triggered this down episode, are the very thing that forces me to sit in my studio and create. Creating, always relaxes me... and every once in awhile, I find it to produce a life changing moment.

Thank heavens I started these pieces so long ago, as I've caught a serious case of Art Block, and once I regain a bit more control over my emotions, and life.. It's time to tackle that block, if it hasn't relieved itself. (A post for another day - ways I break that block). Fortunately, these all needed one or 2 elements to be complete, and they were done. A low pressure way to create, and feel productive...while relaxing a bit.

“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.”
-Tori Amos

I've continued on my quest to get organized again, as I know it will be a HUGE relief once I do. I've been trying not to let things pile up as I have in prior 'episodes'.. little things like these, have kept what's bad, from getting worse. Hopefully I'll find myself on that even, emotional keel soon... I can see it coming, I just need to remind myself of that, and not give up when it seems to hard.

 On a more positive note... I have a trip coming up, that I am soooo looking forward to. I get to see one of my oldest friends, meet her almost 1 year old son, (haven't seen her in 5+ years), and spend a week in the beautiful North Carolina Mountains... some much needed quiet time surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Perfect. It's just a week or 2 away and this opportunity couldn't have presented itself at a more perfect time! It's kept me motivated, to pull myself from the depths of depression, and forces me to retrain the negative thoughts that bounce around my head constantly. I suppose life really does work in mysterious ways, you just have to look, and recognize it.

- Chrysti