Monday, December 31, 2018

Approaching 100,000 reads for GIVEN TO THE PRINCE on Wattpad

Am I excited? You bet. After being with a traditional publisher for ten years, I recently ended that contract and put my contemporary fiction on Wattpad. Wattpad is the world's largest writing and reading App.  It's accessible both by computer and mobile devices and the majority of its content is FREE to read.

Why did I make that decision? Because money wasn't the focus for me as a writer. Personal feedback from readers and the fact that I have a global readership is way more satisfying.

There are a lot of great authors on Wattpad, many who've been on the App for several years and have reading totals in the millions. I don't know if I'll ever have millions, but I can tell you that reaching 100,000 is a super-duper milestone for me. You can read Given to the Prince here.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Unlock Your Creative Ingenuity - Key #6 - Armchair Traveling for Inspiration

What is armchair traveling and why is it beneficial for 'Creatives'?

What - Armchair traveling is exactly what it sounds like. It's experiencing the sights, sounds, smells, and thrills of traveling while remaining in your comfortable spot at home. Due to age, health, circumstance, or financial considerations, not all of us are privileged to travel as much as we'd like. However, that doesn't mean we can't rack up miles while reclining in our favorite chair with a cup of coffee and hot cinnamon rolls while we browse a book, travel magazine, website, travel channel, etc. Why Creatives need constant inspiration, new ideas, and breaking away from the ordinary to capture something illusive that takes root and grows in their imagination, eventually emerging as a design, craft, or work-of-art that is uniquely their own.

And because I think this key is so very important, I'm going to start a new series of posts that will take us to different armchair traveling destinations. In those posts, I'll be sharing images for visual inspiration, a few interesting location facts, and also some practical design suggestions. So stay close and don't miss the adventure.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Unlock Your Creative Ingenuity - Key #5 - Discover What Shouldn't Be and Find Your Inspiration...

Often, the most admired fabric art and craft designs are those that aren't practical, don't make sense, reverse accepted processes, and disprove industry theory. Why so? Because those designs are bolder than we're comfortable with. They shout "look at me", which is what we'd like to say if we weren't too afraid of being noticed. They're risky adventures and we're the safest creative on the block...

In short, we're drawn to these designs because they display everything we'd like to do but are too scared to try. They touch a part of us we keep under strict control; and we can admire them in complete anonymity.

So how do we creatives who lurk in the shadows aspire to such bold independence in our work? Key #5 can be the path that gets you started in the right direction. Discover something that shouldn't be.

Let's use the photo above to illustrate this key. In theory, grass shouldn't grow in areas where there is little or no soil base for nourishment, yet it obviously does. What is the inspiration in discovering these springs of grass? It might take a little meditation, but see what you can come up with.

Here are a few sprigs of inspiration I found:

  • The very soft against the very hard/solid makes me favor the vulnerable soft element. So, if I want to establish an important focal point in one of my art pieces, I may use this concept. 
  • What appears new/fresh is emphasized against something old and worn. Another great tool for establishing a focal point.
  • Living things appears bolder when set against something inanimate 
  • Vibrant color against neutral sparks my imagination
The longer we study something that shouldn't be, the more we find inspiration and direction for our creative ideas. 

What do you think? Can you put Key #5 to use?

Have you Considered Key #6 - Create With the Heart, Build With the Mind

2019 Scrap Busting Challenge - Project Idea #3

Todays scrap busting idea comes from Shabby Art Boutique


Aren't these handmade bookmarks adorable? They would make great gifts and handouts at your next sewing event. Kerryanne at Shabby Art Boutique posted these on her blog with photo-illustrated instructions.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Unlock Your Creative Ingenuity - Key # 4 - Encouraging Failure

Encourage failure to equal success! 
Isn't that an oxymoron? Well, whoever said an oxymoron couldn't be useful? 

How many times in the last few months have you failed at some point in your creative process--once, twice, or not-at-all? If you answered not-at-all, then I'm worried about your future creative success. 

You may have heard the phrase, 'If you haven't failed, you haven't tried.' That principle is true for creative ingenuity. It doesn't mean you haven't been working or that you're not productive. The phrase usually means you haven't tried anything new or reached for a new goal. And if that's true, you can't be growing and developing your creative talent.

So, in summary, give yourself permission to fail. In fact, ask yourself each month, 'Have I failed this month?' If you have--give yourself a big hug and keep going.

You may want to view Key #3 - Understanding Perfection

Monday, December 24, 2018

2019 Scrap Busting Challenge - Project Idea #2

I'm gearing up for the 2019 Scrap Busting Challenge that starts in just a few weeks. I thought it would be good to get a jumpstart by making a list of possible projects I might enjoy creating with my scraps. I hope all you challenge participants will find some of these helpful as well.

So, with that said, I'll be searching the web for a series of videos, tutorials, and inspiration photos that will help guide our creative imaginations. Don't miss these great scrap busting ideas.

by Melody M. Nuñez, Quilter's Planner Staff Writer

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Unlock Your Creative Ingenuity - Key # 3 - Understanding 'Perfection'

The world we live in equates perfection with success. 'Get it right and you're sure to be at the top of the ladder.' 

In the world of Creatives, however, striving for a standard of flawlessness that borders on perfection will, in my opinion, equate to disappointment, anxiety, dissatisfaction, and eventual loss of originality and vision.

Why not strive for an end result that satisfies our sense of beauty, fantasy, fun, design, and accomplishment. If we can achieve that standard in our work, haven't we reached the point-of-perfection? I can confidently say that because perfection, like beauty, changes depending on the eye of the beholder.

How can you put key #3 to use? What is another way you spell 'Imperfection'?

You might like:
Key #2 - You have to stop doing this
Key #1 - Don't Discriminate 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2019 Scrap Busting Challenge - Project Idea #1

I'm gearing up for the 2019 Scrap Busting Challenge that starts in just a few weeks. I thought it would be good to get a jumpstart by making a list of possible projects I might enjoy creating with my scraps. I hope all you challenge participants will find some of these helpful as well.

So, with that said, I'll be posting a series of videos, tutorials, and inspiration photos. Don't miss the great scrap busting ideas.

Project Idea #1 comes from RsIslandCrafts - Robin on Youtube
Scraps - Everyone's got them series How to sew scraps to adding machine tape

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Unlock Your Creative Ingenuity - Key # 2 - If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old. ~Peter F. Drucker~

What is that something old? Staying in your comfortable groove where everything and everyone is familiar. There is nothing wrong with those elements, in fact, they add a large measure of contentment to our lives. However, they can also lead to creative stagnation. 
So it's time to break out...


Key # 2 - Creative Inspiration Through Conversation With a Stranger

When was the last time you initiated a conversation with a stranger? Was it ages ago or maybe never?
Are you reluctant because you don't know what to say? Or, maybe you don't see the benefit. Let's address those two points using the scenario in the photo above.

1. How you might initiate this conversation: "Hi, my name is _______. I love sitting in this park because it's always been peaceful, clean, and safe. But mostly I love the variety of trees, and the way the morning light emphasizes the many different shades of green. May I ask what you like most about this spot?"

"Hello, It's nice to meet you. My name is ______. I'm a phycologist and I've been coming here to experience how color and sound affects mood. It's amazing that you come here to observe color and light. I've found that the light play through the leaves and across the expanse of lawn really increases my energy level."

2. What benefit you might receive: Our creativity often depends on inspiration. Observing  something that is ordinary to us through someone else's eyes is not just interesting, but often, enlightening and inspirational. From this simple conversation You've learned that energy in you work can be expressed through use of light and color. WOW! Your key worked...

3. Where/When to start a conversation: Depending on your comfort level, just about anywhere. But here are a few to get you started.
  • Grocery Line
  • Doctor's waiting room
  • Break time at work
  • Whoever sits next to you in a class, workshop, or seminar
  • Waiting to be seated at a restaurant
  • While pumping your gas

If you try Key # 2, I'd love to hear about your experience and how it unlocked some creative spark in you. Just drop a comment in the box below.

Don't miss Key #3 - Understanding Perfection

Friday, December 14, 2018

“Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.” ~ Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Mosaic Extravaganza 2019 Workshop - Testing the Waters of Fabric Art Design...
In the world of fiber, textile, quilt, and fabric art, the constant feature is always changing. There are new techniques, new products, and new teachers. But where is the 'somewhere' we're suppose to draw the line when it comes to developing our own style or testing the waters of design?

In this workshop, which begins on January 3rd, 2019, you're not expected to copy an inspiration object, someone else's pattern, or an instructor's carefully planned venue. Well, maybe a little...

I will be helping you get to a place that will resemble this photo to some extent. From this point, I'll be helping you to fill in this mosaic using your 'inner designer'. "Don't have one," you say! Well, let's see if you still think that way at the end of this workshop...

Grab some fabric scraps, some fusible web, a pair of scissors, and a tacking iron. Then sign up for this fun and challenging online workshop.

Let's scatter some color together!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Developing an 'Artist's Eye'

We all have this to some extent. We use a facet of this ability when we arrange our home decor or mix and match our clothing choices. We use our sense of position, balance, color, shape, and compatibility.

If we've had a long relationship with fabric, we have most likely expanded on that ability by learning to appreciate texture, finish, complimentary color, pattern, etc.

For those of us who strive to turn our love of fabric into a higher level of artistic application and appreciation, we need to realize that it takes training and practice to develop a creative 'Artist Eye'. In short, we have to change the way we see and rewire our brains to accept our specialized vision.

Believe it or not, our brains are often our biggest hindrance. With experience and time, our brains learn to anticipate and make decisions about what we see without any conscience effort on our part. So how is that a hindrance to an artist? Our brains function on a level of practicality and efficiency. For instance, it may see a bowl with a medium sized round, red shape with a stem, and a long curved yellow shape next to it and immediately identifies them as an apple and banana. Once the objects are identified, the brain thinks its work is done and ceases to look for further information.

It's that missing information that is absolutely necessary to an artist, no matter the medium they choose to work in. To develop an 'Artist's Eye', we need to stop seeing just a single or collection of items and see the whole scene or vignette.

For example let's revisit the bowl of fruit we talked about earlier. The brain took the expedient route to identifying the objects and stopped there. But what would the brain trained to see through an 'Artist's Eye' tell us?

• The mood of the scene is tranquil and homey as the bowl of fruit sits on top of a dining table in a country style kitchen.
• The bright morning light is bathing the fruit in a yellow and magenta tinged glow.
• The marbled blue bowl that holds the fruit has deep purple hued shadows around its bottom and icicle blue highlights around its rim.
• The polished, honey-colored wood table top provides a perfect canvas for the scene, giving it both dimension and stability, its wood grain a natural contrasting pattern to the smooth curved shape of the bowl and fruit.
• The strong circular highlight on the apple's top ridge gives it a delicious depth of color range.
• Sharp angles, soft curves, definitive lines, color value, warmth and coolness, mood, texture, pattern.

These things are present but not initially registered by the brain. We, the artist, must prod the brain to see these things. If practiced enough, the brain will begin to adapt to our 'Artist Eye'.

Lynda's Fabric Art Gallery
Lynda's Tutorial Page
Understanding Symmetry and Balance in Fabric Art

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Unlock Your Creative Ingenuity - Key #1

~The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.~  Pablo Picasso

Key # 1 - Don't Discriminate

Does a line have to be straight? Does a circle have to be unbroken? Does creative energy have to follow the laws of reality? Good sense says that they do, but creative ingenuity says otherwise. 

The photo above is a portrait, or is it? How you answer that question will tell you a lot about how your 'good sense' affects your creativity. 

Discrimination is usually based on preconceived ideas or philosophy.  Try reversing some of your natural thought patterns when tapping into your creative processes. Test the limits of your reality and see what might hover beyond.

Don't miss Key# 2 - You need to stop doing this

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Scrap Busting Projects - Quick Gift Idea - Tablet Pouch

Visual Inspiration.

All you need is a few scraps from your craft projects to create this beautiful and useful gift item. I created this tablet pouch from sample scrap swatches, lace, handmade flowers, and trim. The inside is lined with quilted cotton for more protection. It's constructed in one piece, then folded and stitched on the sides. Top flap has a velcro closure. Easy and so much fun to design.