Category: Inspiration

Gifts and Goals

Gifts and Goals

Endings Are Beginnings: Goals

There’s ALWAYS a HUGE flurry of activity in November and December, trying to finish up final projects and commissions of the year, doing sales/shows, and prepping shipments, along with my own household holiday “stuff”. 102 cloverI am thrilled to have completed ALL of my 2016 business goals, considering that my husband was bedridden for over two months and in the hospital for almost a week.  An ocean-themed coloring book was created, 100+ bowls painted (!), and diorama “Daydream” boxes put together, among other things. An odd item on my personal list was to find 100 four-leaf clovers in 2016. I found #100 in October, and ended at 102 (unless I find another before New Year’s)!

tabledoneGoals give you focus, and reaching goals leaves room for more learning experiences! Breaking big goals into bite-sized pieces helps you accomplish what you set out to do (learn, create, grow, build, accomplish). For example, painting a whole dining set with 6 chairs is a HUGE undertaking, so we broke it into steps which made the project less daunting. We removed the seats and cleaned the chairs. Cleaned the table. Sanded rough spots. And so on. You can’t do it all at once. Baby steps.

What makes you say YES? What do you WANT to do in the next year (not what do you HAVE to do)? Name your GOAL!

ocean coloring bookThe Making Of An Adult Mandala Coloring Book

Producing “My Mother’s Garden” adult coloring book (last year) meant labor-intensive sketching from garden photos, scanning the sketches, cleaning up the scans, and then laying it all out the book format. It took a long time! My latest adult coloring book, “Ocean Rhythms,” was done on my laptop in around 50 hours (including creating the art and finding suitable quotes and ocean facts for each page). The mandalas I was creating needed to be more precise than my hand-drawing skills could produce, and building them in CorelDRAW was the best way for me to accomplish the task.

mandala creationAfter laying out a blank page to the correct size and format for publication, I chose five or six creatures and a tiny decorative motif for each mandala. I started with the center, created a circle, and then aligned objects (sharks, fish, starfish, whales, turtles, etc) along the path of the circle varying the numbers in each piece. Increasing the size of the circular path, I added more creatures in various configurations. Some of the pages are distinctly Hawaiian (in fact, I used Hawaiian petroglyphs in some of the pieces), and each mandala has a main focus, whether shells, deep sea, sharks, or turtles. It was a very interesting learning process as I got my hands on some tools in Corel that I’ve never used before. I’ll admit that it still is a very unusual but pleasant, feeling to color in a book that came from my brain and hands!

ARTIST’S PICK: 10 Beautiful Gifts

dolphin dioramaHere are some of my top picks from the store (at this moment). Clicking on each will take you to the product in the shop. 1) The “Daydream” diorama boxes with beach scenes are my absolute favorite…and I have some gnome dioramas, too! Dive into a magical world when you open the lid…this Pacific dolphin swimming near shore makes me smile every time I open the lid!

2, 3) I still have a wonderful selection of 35″ square hand-dyed Kaleidoscope silk scarves. Some of them look like stained glass windows, and all of them have glorious colors! And in the same sort of design vein, the Ocean Rhythms adult coloring book fulfills that need to “color all the things”.

silk scarf     mandala sample
4, 5) Hand-painted ornaments for the bird lovers and turtle lovers! Birds and turtles are cute, but add a Santa hat, and they are super adorable!

painted ornamentspainted bird ornaments

6, 7, 8, 9, 10) Unusual new pieces: a realistic three-toed sloth, a fiery mandala bowl with “lava” dripping on the edge, a tiny peacock feather ring bowl, a yarn bowl with a nest inside (the other two yarn bowls sold immediately), and a whimsical jewelry tray (or trinket tray) filled with pretty swirls of pink, white, and black.

1539 sloth bowl  volcano mandala bowl    tiny peacock feather bowl  bird nest yarn bowljewelry tray trinket tray

So there you have it! Pretty things, an adult coloring book project, a gift sale, 102 four-leaf clovers, and GOALS!
Remember, the completion of goals leaves room for new goals, new projects, and a chance to learn new skills, and I hope that you are looking forward to 2017’s gifts with the anticipation of a child. Let me know what you’re dreaming GOING to accomplish in 2017!

THANK YOU! Thank you so much for your incredible support this year! It meant so much to John and me (and he is doing MUCH better now). Until next time, have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year, no matter how you celebrate!

Eclectic Dawn

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10 Cheap Quick Halloween Decorating Ideas!

10 Cheap Quick Halloween Decorating Ideas!

halloweenporchCheap and Quick Halloween Decor Ideas

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday for decorating, as it allows for my weirdness to be expressed. Although there are lots of phenomenal and complicated DIY Halloween decor ideas out there on the ‘net, most folks need quick and easy ideas that anyone with limited time and money could create. I’ve put in alternative ideas, too. Check out the links, as many of the sites have the “how to’s” for the projects, but even without the instructions, most are easy enough to figure out. Now get decorating!

2Go BATTY!
Involves: cutting out a colony of bats and sticking them to your wall.
Why I like it: super duper simple to pull off, and has visual impact!
Cost: minimal (paper, scissors, tape).
Where I found it: http://www.madeeveryday.com/2010/10/bats.html/

bwporchClassic Black and White
Involves: painting pumpkins black or white, collecting branches, buying fake crows at your local dollar store.
Why I like it: clean and simple, almost elegant in its simplicity. Reminds me of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”.
Cost: depends on how pricey pumpkins are in your area. Cheaper alternative:  spray some old plant pots black or white and stand the sticks up in them. Sticks are free. Birds are $1 each. Where I found it: http://www.createcraftlove.com/raven-inspired-halloween-porch/

eyeflowersI’ve Got My Eye On YOU!
Involves: Hot gluing eyeballs into fake flowers. Spray paint some faux foliage and a cheap vase black, and you’ve got a creepy centerpiece that looks back at you.
Why I like it: EASY, and a great effect!
Cost: minimal, as you should be able to get the eyes and foliage from a bargain store or dollar store. A can of black spray paint is a few bucks. A cheap vase (or for a cheaper alternative, wrap a big can with tea-stained cheesecloth for a neat effect). I would definitely fill a vase with more than shown in the photo for more impact. Cheap tip: watch at your thrift stores for old arrangements full of big flowers (you can usually get a good group to disassemble for a couple bucks). Where I found it: http://www.hercampus.com/school/ku/diy-halloween-decorations

headjarHead in a Jar
Involves: putting a mask into a jar of water (for extra creepy factor, put greenish yellow food coloring in the water IF you aren’t worried about ruining the mask).
Why I like it: a great effect with almost NO effort.
Cost: most box stores have a basic “old man” mask that is fairly inexpensive. Your local thrift store should have a few jars (the impact would be even better if there were a small “collection” of these together). Budget version: use mason jars and junk store rubber critters from the toy section. Where I found it: http://howdoesshe.com/halloween-decoration-ideas/

skellybarrowDo a Little Gardening
Involves: throwing some leaves (or dirt) into a wheelbarrow along with some skeleton bones.
Why I like it: this is almost as simple as head in a jar. Move your wheelbarrow to the front yard, throw some leaves into it, and add a skeleton in disarray. Done.
Cost: if you don’t have a wheelbarrow, just pile up some leaves on the ground for the skelly. You can get “bag of bones” or skeletons from Big Lots or other bargain stores, so this is less than $20, usually less than $10 if you find the bones at the right place. Where I found it (AND the next Spider Colony tip): http://decorationlove.com/simple-outdoor-halloween-decorations/

spidersacsSpider Colony
Involves: a ball or water balloon in light colored stockings, attach a bunch of plastic spiders. If you use a water balloon, keep this an OUTDOOR decoration.
Why I like it: ICK. Spiders. In groups. *shivers*
Cost: under $10. A pair of cream-colored tights or nylons is less than $5, and you can get a whole bag of spiders from the dollar store, craft store, or other bargain store from $1 – $4, depending on how many spiders you want in your colony. Where I found it: (see previous link).

spiderdoilySpiders Who Crochet Pretty Webs
Involves: inserting crocheted doilies in a spray painted embroidery hoop, and adding a few plastic spiders, and a wrapped “food source” in the middle of the web.
Why I like it: not everyone likes scary, and this can be gussied up to “pretty”. If you’re more into “creepy cute”, then this is a perfect idea for you!
Cost: reasonable, considering how pretty this looks! Older doilies can be found in thrift stores and new ones are in craft stores, yard sales, and bargain stores. I’ve found embroidery hoops at thrift shops (much cheaper than buying new). Spiders can be found at dollar stores or craft stores. You don’t have to spray paint the hoop – you could darken it with stain for a more Victorian look, and you could add a couple of tiny sparkly buttons or pins around the edges, too. Where I found it: http://www.sadieseasongoods.com/creepy-crawly-crochet-spider-web-doilies

waterballoonsEerie Outdoor Atmosphere
Involves: stockings, glow sticks, water balloons.
Why I like it: atmosphere! Can you imagine walking into a yard full of these? Not only for Halloween, this would be a great idea for almost any summer party.
Cost: stockings, glowsticks, balloons, and more stockings. Big Lots usually has some pretty cheap, or stock up on clearance stockings when you see them during the year. Glowsticks and balloons are at the dollar store. Cost will depend on how many of these you want to put together, but I think that the more you hang, the more magical the effect! Where I found it: on pinterest, with no attribution, but looks like dailydump posted it.

wireghostGhostly Figures
Involves: chicken wire and glow in the dark paint.
Why I like it: lovely, ethereal, and very customize-able. And it looks cool during the day, too!
Cost: chicken wire (or poultry wire) can be found at hardware stores for under $20, but perhaps cheaper at a farm store. Glow in the dark spray paint can be had for under $10, but I’m not seeing great reviews. Alternative: perhaps paint them white and shine a light at the figure, or add some Christmas lights at the base. Where I found it (there’s an explanation of how they did it): http://www.wackyarchives.com/offbeat/easy-do-it-yourself-ghost.html

yardghostsYard Full of Small Ghosts
Involves: styro balls, fabric, rebar.
Why I like it: this sets a scene and tells a story with minimal effort.
Cost: this is probably the most costly on our list. Buy some old sheets at the thrift store, about $3 each. You should be able to get four ghost squares out of a large sheet, depending on how tall you want your ghosts to be. Styro balls are a bit pricey, but you can use them from year to year. Look for a multi pack to save money. Rebar is pretty cheap at your various hardware store. Where I saw it (and they have other cute ideas, too): http://www.listotic.com/16-awesome-homemade-halloween-decorations/9/

And there you have it – my top ten picks for Quick, Cheap, Easy Halloween Decorating Ideas! I hope they inspire you to create a bit of magic for your yard and home this year! I’m sure you’re wondering what have I’ve done for Halloween. Well, since I am in the midst of prepping for a show, my Halloweenization of our abode has been minimal this year, but I still included our skelly on the rusty bike in front of the house and managed to put together a new door wreath with snakes, black spray paint, cheap purple glitter flowers, spiders, and a little sign. It’s actually rather pretty! What do YOU think?
A few years ago, I found an amazing, 56″ framed farm print at a thrift store, and I “upcycled” it for Halloween, adding zombies, vultures, a UFO, and various other creepy things. I was so excited to get started, I never took a full “before” photo, but there are sectional “before and after” shots below. It literally takes up almost the entire width of our fireplace mantel, it is so huge.

  dhalloweenwreath d14zombiepainting d3a d2a d1a

And here are a few of the Autumn and Halloween-themed gifts I’ve added to my etsy shop and a very large pumpkin and scarecrow bowl that was a commission for one of my collectors. Cathy always challenges me with fun ideas!
dautumnleavetray dfalltree dotd10kitten6b dotd11dove2b
dpumpkinbowl1 dscarecrowbowl

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Until next time, keep creating!
Eclectic Dawn

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