Art Imitating..... Well ART!

This is one of my favorite paintings I've ever made. There's just something about the layers of color....and of course the little Mattie Bird with a party hat. Who can resist a bird in a party hat? Right? Anyhoo......while making new felted birds this go around, I decided to make some with more embellishments and definitely more personality. A fun Mattie was first on the agenda. I finally found a "Mattie blue" felt at a local craft store. One thing led to another and now we have a 3-D version of "Mattie Turns 30" above. She is sitting on top of a mache box you could fill with a fun Birthday treat or two!

Here's all the little babies I have left to add legs, stands, embellishments, etc. to. Doesn't it look like they are all saying , "Pick me....oooo...ooo...me next....pick me!" Or maybe I am just getting delirious in this art world of mine. I've got 11 completed (which if you follow my blog is twice the number on the SMART goals this week!!), and about 20 to go. What was I thinking?
Well....gotta go. Mr. Green Jeans is in his cage right now not wanting to sit up straight. And I need another glue stick, again. See you next week sometime when I finish up! My fingers are tingling to paint so I am sure there will be some fun compositions to share.


Lovely Mornings

As I sit and write I can hear the birds chirping. I wonder what they are saying to one another? The turtle drifts quietly through his water, Lily sighs softly in my lap, and three of the four cats are lounging in the morning dew on the lawn outside my window. It's going to be a lovely day, I can feel it coming. I found a new quote to share today, and then I'll be off doing quiet things around the house. I'm still not ready to create...there's change coming and until I feel it crossover, I am in an unusual holding pattern. There is a need inside me to be still and listen. "Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown."
-george shinn


New Etsy Banner

I've been toying with the thought lately of re-imaging my etsy, papernstitch and website. I love the blog name, Mattie's Social Circle, but really want to use just my name everywhere else. For some reason I am having a hard time letting go of the birds though. So here's the banner I have now in ESTY. You can see it bigger there. Sweet Brittni of papernstitch came up with 2 new ones that I love too. It's nice to have fresh eyes on your work sometimes. So for now.......
What do you think???

Evaluation of SMART Goals and Etsy Update!

Last Monday I started a weekly SMART goal list to help keep me motivated and accountable before the Norcross Art Show in October. Were they smart you ask? Well, let's just say that I did not take into account LIFE. Yes, that thing called life that sometimes gets overwhelming. I should have added to the list last week as #1 -start art classes at Arbor Springs. Because this took a huge chuck of my creative time. But the ball is now rolling on that aspect of my life and now I can move on. So I completed #3, #4 and #5. My etsy shop is up and running now with porcelain pendants. And our family enjoyed not 4, but 5 meals around our own table. So this week: 1. clean out the garage studio so that I can walk in there and find things!
2. organize afterschool art class lessons for next three weeks
3. work on completing at least 5 felted bird sculptures
4. PapernStitch site uploaded (new format! looks great!!)
5. dinner around the table at least 4 times

Hope you have a wonderful creative week too! I am dying to paint, so I may sneak a little in on Friday......


Some Helpful Tips

While cleaning out the studio Friday, (it's a part of the creative process for me remember here?) I found this book I bought Mailey awhile back. Sums up how I truly think we can make the world a better place...and it has fabulously silly illustrations! I love books like this. So enjoy my favorite pages. I challenge each of you to come up with your own tip to make a happier life. Ever thought about that? My tip would be this.......find something you love with ALL your heart, throw yourself in and live it all up. And don't look back.

This page says make music on one side....and art on the other.


I Like You

Over the summer I participated in Marisa of Creative Thursday's "Life in the Fishbowl" e-course. It was amazing. I believe there were 80 participants from all over the world. The wealth of knowledge she fed us weekly was super, and so was all the feedback in the form of comments from my fellow classmates. In her first class she told us "I like you already." How cool was that. She liked us, even though she knew none of us, personally anyways. We came with willing hearts and minds to listen to what she had to say. Immediately you were walking into class, the first day of school and someone liked you.

I am painfully reminded of this as my children have started a new school. We didn't move, just were redistricted to a new school. We've been in school almost two weeks and my little Mailey has spent way too much time crying that she has no friends, that no one likes her. All she needs is for someone to say, "I like you already." So I guess my personal life is spilling over into my work right now, because I just had to add these words to my newest felted friends. I introduce Rosie and Jeremy. And they like you already.
As I pondered writing this post, I say with all seriousness "I Like You". You, my readers. You come to my blog to read a little about this and more about that. You come willing as I sort out my fears, celebrate my successes and offer kind words when needed. And I thank you. And not only do we need to hear the words "I like you", I believe "thank you" comes in close second.

Kindness is easy when you open yourself up and allow others in to experience what you really have to offer the world. So I challenge you this week to tell someone "I Like You" and just as important, "Thank you". And see what happens next. I have a feeling a door will open. Take care. Jenni


Food For Thought

Is the life I'm living the life that wants to live in me? -parker palmer
Just some food for thought tonight. As I've returned to some normalcy this week I have been seriously thinking about this little life I am living. And I can't help but think about how to make it better, no actually more full-filling. You know, the kind of life that has no regrets. I've been a little testy with the children, husband, darn cute dog, and friends (sorry guys). I find that whenever this sort of unrest begins to stir in me something really amazing is around the corner. So I wait.....still waiting....... My fortune in the cookie Saturday night actually said, "Opportunity is knocking on your door, answer it tomorrow". Seriously freaky. Especially since that is the analogy I use often for my own life, that of opening and closing doors. Being willing to open them is the key. So I'll be sure to let you know the door that needs to be opened as soon as I find it. Otherwise, this week I am ticking away at my SMART goals.


Monday SMART Goals

7 Weeks. Yep. 7 Weeks. 7 WEEKS! There's no time for this Lily, we must get going! I am a regular reader of the papernstitch blog. Brittni does an amazing job not only writing her own posts, but she selects guests to post on her blog. My favorite series is written by the clever Brenda of Phydeaux Designs. She writes a blog column entitled Crafty Business. Any crafter will tell you that the business side is the hardest to manage, it's a left brain activity. And since as a general rule crafters are right-brained, we all need our hands held while navigating the business side of our business.

My favorite post so far has been this one on SMART goals. So clever. I am a goal setter and list maker. But, are they really SMART goals? Brenda says that, "SMART goals are just goals that do set you up for success. It takes a little practice to change your goals from “I want to do X” to “I will do X in this specific way by this specific date. SMART is an acronym: Specific, Measurable, Achievable or attainable, Realistic, Timely”"

So starting today, I am making a weekly SMART goal list and posting it on my blog. It will help hold me accountable, keep me on track, and make me really think about what direction my business seems to be taking. So here goes:

1. add legs and stands to felted birdies made on St. Simons trip
2. take photos of felted birds, download and upload into flickr
3. take photos of pendants, download, upload to flickr
4. add pendants to etsy listings
5 make dinner and sit at the family table 4 nights (this will be the hardest with our schedule!)
I'm off to start some legs now! I hope you have a SMART crafty week yourself. J


Coming Home

If you've been reading my blog the past few weeks, then you know that my BFF from grade school, Amy Hill Dickerson and her sister-in-law Ashley have opened Wedding 101 in Franklin, Tennessee. Last week Valerie and I drove up to help put the finishing touches on the space and of course attend the super Preview Party! Valerie did a great blog post on the event, so I'll talk about the coming home! This is us being silly with the mannequins. Valerie did not have a traditional wedding dress she said. Here, she looks like a blushing bride, don't you think?
I worked on two bride paintings for the space. Amy and Ashley were thrilled with the final paintings. They look lovely in their new home.

I also made 6 cake toppers which now rest in a beautiful cabinet anxiously waiting for their bride to say, "that's the ONE." And then they get to sit a top a yummy cake for one evening.

For the trip home, we knew that many stops would be made....every junk shop, flea market, antique mall we saw a sign for would not be off limits! After our first stop however, we decided to venture over to Bell Buckle. A quaint little city that hosts a family fun weekend in September with Moonpies and RC Colas. They say it draws about 25,000 visitors. WOW. That's a lot of Moonpies being consumed.

We had a fabulous time in their antique malls, curious shops, soda fountain and cafe. I believe we stayed 4 hours. By the time we reached the interstate again, most of the other antiquing haunts were closed. We did however have to stop at an exit to purchase a certain beverage for a friend and found a great Goodwill. An hour later the van was piled up with chairs, statues, bubble gum machine, trinkets, dishes and more for both Valerie's shop and my little booth. It was a wonderful three day trip. And the company was the best!
Super cute town, a must see if you head to Nashville.

Now I am counting the weeks until show season starts. 7 weeks to be exact. I'll be posting lots about the process of getting ready. And of course giving you a sneak peek at my latest work!


Folk Fest in Atlanta

Today I met with the sweet Mary Jane of Maltida's Gallery. She is taking a nice collection of my newest paintings and felted birds to the Folk Fest right here in Atlanta. She has an enormous booth- 25' x 10', representing several artists. It's the 16th year of the show I read. And from what a gather on the website, it is a HUGE show. So if you are in town this weekend and want to see some amazing artwork, stop by! Check the website here for more information. This is small part of the pink camper called "Barbie and Ken on Honeymoon".

Handmade Cake Toppers- Mattie Style

Yesterday I blogged about making these beautiful vintage inspired cake toppers for Wedding 101. Creating these toppers was a bit out of my comfort zone, and I found that I over thought every embellishment's placement, trying to make them perfect. I find however that being asked to move out of your comfort zone opens avenues in your mind and an explosion of creativity can emerge from that new door being opened. Yesterday, this was my favorite I made. Today however, it's this one. Looks alot more like a Mattie now doesn't it? Oh the stories I could tell on these two little birdies and their love story that led them to the altar!

I'll be gone until Saturday to Nashville. Valerie and I intend to help Amy and Ashley put the finishing touches on their space and toast with champagne to new beginnings on Thursday PM. Upon my return I have a new stash of paintings to share! Have a creative week!!


Handmade Wedding Cake Toppers

Along with the beautiful bridal portraits I've made for Wedding 101, I've been asked to create some vintage inspired wedding cake toppers. (Amy has a glass case just waiting for these!) I had the best time gathering materials for this project. Every flea market and antique store I've visited lately I've gathered vintage hats with millinery, old cake toppers themselves, lace, old buttons and more. Putting these three together was harder than I had expected because I had almost too much to choose from! I only had 3 bride and groom sculptures, so once I find more I have plenty of trinkets to make more!

This is my favorite. The base I found at a flea market. I knew immediately what it could be used for, with a sparkly wedding bell in the base and bride and groom on top! All the millinery came from a blue hat I bought at Scott's. I suppose it could go along with the "Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue"!

As I was researching for this project I found that quite honestly cake toppers are hideous at local market places. I saw one last night that had a bride dragging the groom by the collar. Seriously, what does this say about marriage? In the magazines it appears that many brides are choosing flower arrangements and monograms. I had a beautiful Lenox china cream bride and groom. I found it while choosing china with Billy and knew it was what I wanted for the top of my multi-tiered cake. I hope that a bride comes into Wedding 101 and says, "That's it. That's my topper."



Yes. Whew. I just finished up a large body of paintings for an upcoming show. I was asked by Matilda's Cottage two weeks ago to join her booth at the Folk Fest here in Atlanta. Sure I said, knowing that I had very few paintings available at the time. So I "put on my big girl panties" and dove right in. As you know, my texture paintings are time consuming. I've learned that starting a bunch at once helps the momentum and keeps me excited about the end results. Last week I had the wood cut, laid the texture and drew the compositions. And since the compositions are sometimes the biggest hurdle to overcome, it is always nice to get this part of the process over with! Once the bases are dry, the fun part of painting begins! I used an entirely new color palette for this series. All spicey colors- paprika, dry mustard, pepper, Lawry's, and more! I just love this palette. I also tried to add more collage to the texture series. It's a bit challenging, but adds such a nice new dimension.
This is my favorite I painted. The streamers and bike bell really bring back the nostalgic days of summer gone by. Now I have to photograph, sign, name and frame them all (all 12).

So now I am off to add beaks and legs to these girls I made coming and going to Saint Simons. They are just cracking me up in the studio....yes, my work speaks to me. It speaks volumes about me too!


Okay, This has got to be the coolest idea!

So today while cruising Valerie's blog, she mentioned this fabulously fun idea she found here. It's a card catalogue card maker thingy. I love it! What a great way to make your list of things to do, or catalogue your new ideas, or so many fun things to do with this card maker. Great share!


New Inspirations

Just a peek at some of the things that are inspiring me right now. I saw last week in a shop window a painting where the artist used newspaper for the background and painted on top amazing fish. Very loose, very bold, very inspiring. I don't paint fish, but I could paint these zinnias in a similar style. So as soon as I finish the 16 texture paintings in the studio, I will move on to these. I just love the colors and textures in these photographs I took this weekend.


Yes, We Are Now A Petting Zoo

For about two weeks now we've been seeking the perfect Hamster. Yes, I said Hamster. I wanted one, the kids wanted one, Billy did not want one, but hey, it was 3 against 1. Majority rule in this house. Anyhoo, I am thinking at this point we might could apply for a petting zoo licence and make some money off this entourage of ours. Or get kicked out of the neighborhood for animal abundance! We now have one large fur real friends horse named Romeo, 4 sheddy cats, one silly dog, one stinky turtle, and one VERY CUTE dwarf hamster. Yep dwarf hamster. His name is, get this......Etsy. I had nothing to do with that. After buying him we were in the car throwing out names and Mailey was just insistent on Etsy. I said how do you spell that? And she said, you know, like the place you sell your art work....ETSY. Holy cow, I've created a little artsy monster. So his or her (how do you tell the gender??) name is indeed ETSY.
It is the cutest darn thing. And we've touched, held, brushed, introduced it to the four cats and silly dog, and photographed it in only 3 short hours. And it has yet to bite or seem to mind (or died). Wow. It's a good hamster. I love it already. I'm going to go out and buy it a Barbie jeep tomorrow. It's got to have a pink Barbie jeep. Okay, I am off to paint....

A Few of My Favorite Things

Our last Field Trip was a trip down memory lane for me. The kids and I headed to Birmingham, Alabama for the weekend. And I swear, I ate my way through the weekend! There is something magical about the restaurants and bakeries in this town. Seriously, I gained 4 pounds. So here's the first stop: It seemed so much smaller than I remembered, but looks exactly the same. The menu is stillon the wall! Lag's was a place we ate at least once a week as a child. Mr. Lag retired years ago they said, but still comes in every Friday to eat. I was so hoping he'd come by!

After Lag's we drove around the old neighborhoods and houses I lived in as a child. There were many you see. My parents were the original house flippers. It was embarassing back then. If HGTV was around though, we'd have made a great mini series! Then off to downtown Homewood for back to school shopping at Sikes shoes and Jack and Jill. I spent some serious dollars on Mailey, the nostalgia of it must have gotten the best of me. After those dollars were dropped, we headed to the bike shop, Pink Tulip and last but not least here:

Yes, there is a heaven, and it is cooked right here in this little bakery. Smiley face cookies and petit four cakes are my favorite since childhood, and now I pass this gene on to my children because it's their favorite too! They have so many delightful treats it's hard to choose. I looked quite silly trying to photograph them. But here they are:

And a shot of the cakes that I had at every birthday growing up as a child. Yes, that is ALL icing. OMG is it good for you. You heart, you soul, your mind..........it's just very good.

We hit severel more fun jaunts and then attended my 20 class reunion meeting. It went so well, that we stayed out listening to old Show Choir buddies in a band until the wee hours. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, promise! I on the other hand, will be dreaming of these amzing confections until September 12th, which is when we plan to meet again! Hope you had a sugar coated weekend!
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