Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oh, my long lost blog

The wedding was amazing and beautiful, the weather was perfect.....everything was relaxed, casual and fun with a laid back soundtrack and an easy going pace.   Richard and I had both our families there,  our parents, kids, and siblings as well as a few very close friends that might as well be family.  The setting was on the river with orange and gold leaves still on the trees and the water a deep blue/gray/green in the background.   We decorated with daisies and pumpkins, the bouquets looked like they were picked in a field of wildflowers.   The colors were orange and pale aqua and yellow and chocolate brown.  It was so pretty and informal.   There were even little tiny creatures (spiders maybe?)  trailing little threads of gossamer through the air all over the place.  That sounds kind of disgusting but it looked so pretty and magical lol.  Just little sparkling threads of silk floating on the air whenever  you looked toward the sun.   It was like fairy guests LOL.  Ok, maybe I'm romanticizing it a bit....but it was really neat.  We don't have any photos back yet....I'll post some when we do.  We went to Asheville for our honeymoon, we stayed at the Residences of Biltmore,  a super nice hotel right at the gates....if you get a chance to go to Asheville, NC, I highly recommend it.  It had a separate kitchen with full sizes stainless steel appliances and granite countertops....a living room with an awesome fireplace a separate bedroom, huge bathroom with a two person shower and jacuzzi tub.  So very romantic :).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Getting married November 7th

I've been quite a bit busier than usual trying to get everything organized.   Well, my mom is doing the majority of the organizing as far as catering, layout, tent rentals etc. but that leaves me with dress + jewelry shopping for everyone, honeymoon reservations, picking colors, cake inspiration, guest favors, etc etc.  I've absolutely loved going through all the wedding amazing-ness on Etsy - I'm really trying to have a mostly hand made wedding.  It's obviously in the fall, it's outside and I'm hoping there will still be some leaves on the trees.  The colors are orange and pale aqua.  That's my favorite combination in my artwork right now so it's what's inspiring the whole color scheme.  Richard and I bought a house together over 3  years ago, so I guess this is just making everything official lol  - it will be nice to have a ring on my finger.  It's going to be a very small wedding, family only - the kids will be our bridesmaids/groomsmen.  It works out well that way, 2 girls and 2 boys (3 are mine and 1 is his).  And they're all around the same age - between 17 and 21.   Wow, that makes me feel older seeing that in writing.  I got married and had my kids super duper young though so I spent my entire 20's raising children (as did Richard). Now that they are older and pretty much on their own I get the opportunity to recreate myself and focus on who I am and who I want to be and I get to do  it while married to my best friend :).  I'm really looking forward to this next chapter in our lives.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I bought an old Volvo station wagon

Yay! I'm so excited. I bought it from a fellow vendor at the Knoxville market named Dave (thank you Dave!). I can actually take all my stuff now and fit it in. In the Maxima, I had to lay the front seat down and my tent went from the front seat all the way to the back seat and all my art, etc was crammed on top of it. Nobody could ever ride with me ever. Now I have a whole empty seat next to me which is just lovely. Here's a photo of my beautiful car :) :

We had just finished washing and waxing it. Red's not my color, but I have some big plans as far as paint, etc. This is my blank canvas lol. I'll have to post photos as I do things to it. I really want to take some photos of my booth and put them on here too. My daughter Mia is going with me to the Chattanooga Market tomorrow - it will be her first time. I actually have a free front seat now. Yay! That's a picture of Mia, she'll be 17 in a month, she's my baby, my youngest :). So, I'll try to take some photos at the market tomorrow and get them posted.

I hope it's a great day :).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Soooo....I quit my day job

Wooohoo, I feel so much less stressed :). I feel a lot more creative, like my time is finally my own, like I can give 100% to my business. I'm doing 3 markets a week now, a Saturday and Wednesday market in Knoxville and a Sunday market in Chattanooga. I'm actually posting from my saturday market as I write....the weather is so very cooperative today. Not raining, not to hot, my tent's in the shade :). Good day :).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thinking towards fall.....

'Almost Autumn'

Today is Richard's B'day...the big 4-0 lol. I got him a bunch of cool shirts and a funny/sweet card. We went out to eat at O'Charley's and I got a giant margarita that I couldn't even get halfway through lol. Oh, and I got him a lucious chocolate cake that I lit with 40 candles :). Fun. It's always great starting a new decade in your life, this is going to be a good one for him (for us) . We're settled in our house, we have an awesome dog, our kids are getting older (Erik, his son, is starting college this fall). I'm looking forward to all that's to come. I know one thing that has to happen soon - I HAVE TO GET ORGANIZED. I'm sitting at a desk full of papers, empty coffee cups, my camera, bills, and misc STUFF. It's amazing I can sit here at the computer surrounded by all this clutter. Ugh.

I have some good news that's going to contribute greatly to harmony and peace in my life though. I talked to my manager at Cato and told her I didn't want to be 2nd Assistant anymore. Whew! That means I won't be putting in 30+ hours a week there so I can get focused and organized and keep heading in the right direction with my artwork. I'm going to be able to step down the week after next. No more cramming to get ready for the Saturday and Sunday markets after getting off work, or going to work after being in Knoxville all day with my tent. Well, I have to this Saturday :(....but it will be my last. I actually get to have a life now lol. My schedule has pretty much been work M-F at Cato and Sat and Sun at the markets. I've had no creative down time at all. I'm so looking forward to this. Richard is working from home now too so we can get back to our wonderful little life of being home together doing our separate creative jobs. Sigh, I can't wait. I know the next week will go by fast.....

In the meantime, we started getting in some fall sweaters and things so I'm starting to be in an autumn frame of mind now. Here's some of my autumn inspired artwork I've been working on :) :

'Tastes Like Fall'

'That Seventies Summer'

These aren't in my shop yet but I'll be bringing one this week and the other two next week to the markets. I actually bought the lovely sunflowers at the Chattanooga Market. I love them, they're such happy flowers :).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Here are a couple of things I've been working on this week. I'll be bringing them to Knoxville on Saturday and Chattanooga on Sunday :). The above one is called 'Talking to Clouds' and the one below is 'Peachy Keen' which I thought was quite appropriate for the the Peach Market on Sunday :). I really love both of them although they're very different. Talking to Clouds is really neat because it looks like the telephone lines are going through the clouds - I don't even know how I did that lol! It had something to do with the settings on my camera and brightness of the clouds - the light somehow overtook the telephone line in spots so that it looks like the clouds are covering the wires. I tried to think of all kinds of names for it - Stairway to Heaven, How We Talk to God, Communion With Clouds.....I could go on and on - I finally decided on 'Talking to Clouds' to keep it simple. 'Peachy Keen' - well, it's rather self explanatory :). I love the warm, peachy colors and the vintage feel. It's fresh yet old-fashioned at the same time.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thank you Chattanooga for the warm reception :)


So Chattanooga was awesome, I'm definitely going back this week. I'll probably make it regular Sunday thing now :). All the market goers were very friendly as were the other vendors (with the possible exception of one who will go nameless lol - backhanded compliments anyone?). But it was a great day, I met so many people. I also felt good because a lot of my customers told me their stories and explained what the particular photograph they bought meant to them. That it reminded them of something from their childhood or something that recently happened to them or their wedding day...there were a lot of little stories exchanged in conversation. I love that I can give people something they can hold onto that corresponds with something special in their life or from their past, it's that emotional connection to my work that makes it all worthwhile for me. I truly truly truly think it's important that we don't forget those parts of ourselves that believed in the magic of blowing dandelion seeds, or making wishes, or just laying in grass looking up at the clouds in amazement and awe. I think we get so caught up in our day to day rushing around or our immediate problems that we sometimes forget that all of that is still out there just waiting for us to notice it and believe in it. So when you go outside today, don't forget to look up - at the clouds, or at the birds sitting in a neat row on the wire on your way home from work, or just notice the happy little dandelions popping up in your yard (or your neighbor's yard if you don't like them in your own lol). It will make you feel lighter and happier inside :).

I'll also be at the Knoxville Market on Saturday - I hope to see everybody there!

The Seduction of Clouds (not in my shop at the moment)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Going to Chattanooga....

'The Only Explanation'

I'm going to be going to the Chattanooga Market this Sunday to sell my artwork. I'm really looking forward to it. It's about 2 1/2 hours from my house so it's going to be a quite a little drive. I enjoy driving though so it should be ok. The Chattanooga Market's on Sundays so I'll still be able to do the Saturday market in Knoxville. This represents a big step in branching out for me. I've only sold (in person) in Knoxville so heading over to Chattanooga is the next step in my Big Plan. The Big Plan involves selling my artwork across the United States, not through my online shop but through travelling to art shows and markets and helping everyone find their 'happy place artwork' =). I've sold across the US in my online shop (+ Ireland, England, Australia, Hong Kong, Canada and Alaska) so I know there is an interest in places outside my local area, it just a matter of focusing and building up enough inventory to make it worth my while expense wise to do it. I generally just sell prints of my work at the markets with the occasional canvas but I'm going to have to build up a good canvas inventory to sell since they bring in more money. My goal is to get every single photograph printed onto a large canvas and paint it. I have a good start, but I have to organize my time better so I can spend more time in my studio. I absolutely love the process of recreating digital layers with acrylic paint - it adds a lot of depth and uniqueness to each piece.

I'll post and let you know how the Chattanooga Market goes...from what I hear, it's a very artsy market so I'm hoping all will go well! I just hope I don't get lost getting there....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We took Sesame to the lake last Sunday

It was really fun, we found a quiet spot where she could swim and we could wade and hang out. I got some great photos but managed to get my cell phone wet. Sooooo glad it wasn't my camera that got in the water!

That's Richard watching Sesame take off through the water, she's a Golden Retriever so she's a water dog :). I think this spot on the lake is my new happy place.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New website - yay!

I'm loving my new website.....I can update it easily and it has links to my Etsy shop (prints) and my Soleyne shop/gallery (canvas originals). Plus it has a place for news, exhibits, etc. I'm going to keep it updated (not like I ever get behind up updating things like my blog lol), and use it as the primary gateway for my artwork instead of Etsy. I think it looks great as well as being user friendly :). I had a really beautiful website before but I wasn't great about keeping it updated. It also had a shopping cart where the new one just lets you purchase at Etsy or Soleyne. It felt somewhat redundant to be able to purchase at my website and at Etsy since you were purchasing the same thing.

Anywho, here's some artwork I've been working on :

Tangled Up in YouJuicy Summer
Through the Looking Glass

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Went to the Farmer's Market Yesterday

I'm getting back to the summer routine of setting up at the Farmer's Market in Knoxville on Saturdays now. I think I'm pretty much clear as far as getting off from the day job on Saturdays. I might still have to go in around 5 and close the store afterwards but my mornings/afternoons should be free. Yesterday was such a great day! We have double the vendors this year, there's so many awesome things to see and buy :). I finally went and walked around toward the end of the day and left my booth to Mia (my daughter) and her boyfriend - I was in search of strawberries. They were already sold out though :(. However, I did get some awesome handmade soap (lemongrass....mmmm) and a pumpkin scone. I met some of the new vendors, some fellow Etsy sellers, and reconnected with some from last year's market. It was so fun. I had a jewelry artist in the tent right next to me named Kathy Davey and on the other side was Big Daddy of Big Daddy Lane and his wife. I hope I get in the same spot next week, it was a very pleasant place to be - I was next to the grassy area with several trees, I could here the water from the fountains nearby. I'm going to have to take my camera and take photos next week. We did have some rain, hopefully that will all be cleared out by then. My tent is a lot better this year too.....Richard made an awesome banner for me and I'm taking credit cards this year. The amazing thing is that every single sale I made yesterday was on credit cards. I think it's going to make a huge difference this summer with how much I bring home on Saturdays!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Getting ready for work...

I just had a couple of extra minutes this morning before work so I thought I might as well take advantage of it. I'm going to my day job, 2nd assistant manager at a Cato store. I really loved the job when I started but sometimes I think the shine is wearing off. Well, our district manager is coming today which always brings added stress. I was thinking for awhile that it would be awesome to be a salaried manger (in addition to my art of course) but lately I've been thinking 'not so much'. I think I'm sticking to my original plan of going as far as I can with my art. The day job will do until I'm making enough money to pay bills from my artwork. I'm formulating a new life map so I'll keep heading in the right direction. I actually made a vision board this week. I'll have to take a photo of it and put it up here. Well.....better finish getting ready. *sigh*. I don't know, I still like working there - maybe I'm just not looking forward to today.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Just got home from work

Nothing particularly eventful to write about. It's been raining most of the week but it's not been cold. I actually love rain. My perfect day is a rainy day at home wearing comfy clothes and listening to it fall. *sigh* heavenly :)


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Featured Etsy Blogger for March

I'm a member of the Etsy Bloggers Street Team and we feature a member every month for all team members to blog about. This month it's Design By Nora. Nora has some fabulously cute earrings and some wonderful pocketbooks. The purses are the creation of her talented Uncle Naz who has had his own leather purse business for 30 years now. Without further ado, here are the goodies she has in her shop :

I love these cute little post earrings - what happy colors. She also has these same colors available as star post earrrings. Super cute!

Here are 2 examples of Uncle Naz's beautifully crafted purses. I'm loving this orange color :

And what a great look for spring :

So go over to Nora's shop and see what she has to offer - I'm sure you'll find something fabulous!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Your Dream Job?

So, while I was procrastinating this morning, I came across the questions -

' What would your dream job be?

How much would you make a year?

What kind of benefits would you have?

How is your dream job different than your current job?'

This really got me to thinking. What is my dream job? Am I doing it? What more do I want/need in my life? And most importantly, if it's not what I have now, what do I need to do to make it so? I think we (or is it just me?) get so caught up in thinking that we aren't there yet. That next year or five years or 10 years from now we'll have these things we want. Is it human nature to feel like we aren't satisfied yet? That happiness lies in some future time or place?

To answer the above and to help me learn more about myself....What would my dream job be?

Hmmm, if I had answered that 2 years ago, it would have been to earn a living doing something creative. Well, I'm doing that now. But since I've been a photographer, I still felt success was somewhere ahead in the future. When I get a bunch of wholesale accounts I'll be happy with my job, when I have 20 Etsy sales a week, I'll be happy with my job, when I can afford to buy all the beautiful handmade things I want instead of bargain shopping (clothes, make up, cleaning products, jewelry, lotion, etc - all the wonderful Etsy shop lovelies) I'll be happy with my job. Mulling over these questions this morning though, I'm realizing that maybe all the ingredients are there already. Am I so caught up in the seduction of 'some time in the future' that I don't recognize what's right in front of me? I don't believe in God, but I do believe that the universe sees to it that things fall into place for us. That if we want something and focus strongly on it that it will be brought into our lives. The thing is that we may have this certain path in our head that it's supposed to follow but the universe may see a different path toward the same destination that we haven't thought of yet. We can't see the big picture when things are falling into place, all we can see is that the way we thought it would be by now isn't happening yet.

I was doing my photography full time for several months and then we ( Richard and I ) came to realization that if we are going to be able to make our mortgage payment I was going to have to get another job in addition to my photography. I thought this was the end of the world at first. It was like FINALLY I was doing something wonderful and creative and now I'm going to have to get a second job and all that's going to be left behind. The way the job market is now I just knew I would end up with a job I hate and it would leave me way to exhausted for any kind of creative thinking. Well.....that didn't happen. I actually got a job that I love. It's a retail job at a clothing store but I absolutely love it. I now get a discount on super cute clothes - they aren't the wonderful handmade clothes that I wanted but I still get to expand my wardrobe and dress in a way that says 'me'. It has also inspired me to get a sewing machine so I can alter my clothes some and make them more unique which is more the way I want to dress. This will also give them a bit of that handmade aspect I want. So even though I can't afford to buy my amazing handmade Etsy clothes, I can have a less expensive alternative now.

Back to the questions - what kind of benefits would the job have? Well, having health insurance is right there at the top of course. When I was a photographer for a school photography company, I actually had my own health insurance for the first time in my life (by 'my own', I mean not provided by my ex-husband or by my parents). I was so proud of that health insurance card with my name on it. When I dropped the job and started doing my own photography, I didn't have that little card anymore which was a step back instead of forward. Well, guess what? My retail job also comes with health insurance. That's a huge benefit in my mind and something I would never be able to afford if I was just doing art. This is another benefit of taking that job that I was absolutely against taking. See how the universe works was just making things fall into place for me even though I couldn't see it at the time.

How much would you make in a year? Ok, there's the biggie. I don't want to be a starving artist, I don't want to worry about bills every month. I don't want to leave the house that we moved into and love because we can't afford to make the mortgage payments. I definitely wasn't making enough just doing art to make a substantial contribution to our bills. And when I got this job, it was just minimum wage and barely even made a difference. But after working there for 4 months, I just got promoted to 2nd assistant manager which means a big pay increase - well a about $1.50 more per hour but that's still going to help a lot. Plus I became full time instead of part time so that will also contribute to a bigger check. I just finished my training the day before yesterday and my next paycheck should show big difference. I've done gallery exhibits the past 2 months, so I will have a check from Three Flights Up at the beginning of April. I have some artwork that sold at Bliss Home (the store that carries my work) so that should be a check from them at some point in the near future. Plus the Market Square Farmer's Market will be starting in May and that was an extra $75- $150 a week last year since I set up a booth every Saturday. So maybe things are starting to smooth out financially? I still won't be able to afford handmade clothes but I will be able to hopefully afford handmade laundry detergent and lotion and soap and the occasional pretty jewelry or handbag and maybe even shop Etsy for everyone's b'day presents, etc. That 'handmade life' that was out of reach may be made possible because I have this retail job that I was so against taking in the first place. They're also really good about letting me have days off when I need them (i.e., the Saturdays I need for the Farmer's Market and the First Fridays I need for exhibit openings ).

So the last question is 'How is your dream job different than your current job?' I don't know? Is it different? Maybe this combination of jobs is my dream job. I'll have to think about that one some more. That is a revelation to me and something I'm going to have to get my head around if that's the case. It would mean not putting stock in some future time or waiting until everything falls in place before I'm really happy. It would mean that the future is here and to keep doing what I'm doing is where I want to be. Grasping this would be life changing for me.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A new month is here :)

Soooo. I didn't win the Dogwood Arts competion. Phil Savage's Woodruff's won - he had an awesome photo. I am however exhibiting this month at Three Flights Up. We had the opening last night and it was pretty awesome. I got to meet a lot of interesting people and sell a little bit of art :). I love opening night of an exhibit, it's so fun to just mingle and talk to people about what you do. Getting ready for an exhibit - well , that's a whole other story LOL. It's stressful trying to make it all come together with a deadline. But then you go to the opening and it's all worth it :). I'm doing canvas for the exhibition, well pretty much everything I sell locally is on canvas now. I'm using a company in California - I send them the photographs, they print them on artist grade canvas and then ship them to me rolled together in a tube. I then mount the canvas on stretcher strips and luann board and use transparent layers of paint to give them a distressed, nostalgic look. I really like the way they turn out. Here's what I'm exhibiting this month ( all these are 20"x20" ) :

I did these in a smaller size ( 10"x10" canvases) :

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Get out the vote! Please :)?

So, every year there is a contest in Knoxville to see whose artwork will represent the Dogwood Arts Festival. It's down to the seven finalists and I'm one of them. I'm almost in 2nd place at the moment as far as online voting goes but it would be a huge help if everyone could vote for me :

It's Jennifer Simpson and 'Delicate' . The winner receives $2000 for the rights to their artwork. That would be so awesome! It will also mean a lot of press and exposure for my art. Voting ends Sunday February 22 at I think 6 pm. Please go vote if you can. This is my artwork :

I will be eternally grateful to everyone who votes !!!! :) :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We FINALLY had some snow...

It was just a dusting of snow, you probably wouldn't even call it snow if you lived up North lol. It was fluffy and beautiful and inspiring though. I worked that day at Cato (my day job now), came home and took no less than 85 photos . Here are a few of them :

I only have one in my Etsy shop at the moment but I'll be putting the other ones up as I go along this week. The ironic part is that I'd decided to totally launch into spring with my shop photos lol. We just never get snow though so I wanted to get these in there while it's still winter :).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Are you on Facebook?

Do you love it? It's such a great waster of time lol. I was just on there doodling around and I thought - hey, I really should be posting on my sadly neglected blog. I just put a bunch of photos of my kids and Richard if you want to go have a looksee :) ... Jen's Facebook Page I'm always so curious about people I meet online and what they look like. I think everyone has a mental picture of the people they interact with here.

I drove about an hour to Knoxville today, I picked up a canvas that I'm entering in the Dogwood Arts Festival competition. If it wins it will represent the whole festival in their posters and things. There will be an exhibition of all the artwork chosen and the public will pick the representative art. The winner will get $2000 as well as the status of their artwork being on limited edition posters, etc of the festival. It's a big deal to win it as far as getting your name out there. I'm totally hoping I'll win! This is my entry :

It's actually all beautiful and glowy in person, it looks almost zen-like for lack of a better word lol. I'm doing it on a 30"x30" gallery wrapped canvas so it will be really big!

Hope everyone is enjoying the new year and not freezing their butts off! It's 6 degrees right now here and for TN that's pretty extreme cold ..brrrrrrr.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I'm so glad the new year is here! Did everyone make resolutions? I don't really call them resolutions, more like goals for the year I suppose. I have way to many to put them on my blog but here's the condensed version:

  • Do a painting every week
  • Be more assertive about your needs
  • Make a daily list the night before of things to accomplish the next day
  • Keep better records of art sales
  • Do a photo a day (at least one)
  • Offer gift certificates and matting in your Etsy shop
  • Open a vintage shop on Etsy
  • Fine more venues to sell your artwork online and locally
  • Keep up with your Etsy teams requirements (Etsy Bloggers Street Team & Design Style Guide)
Plus a cazillion house goals - pull up the disgusting purple carpet downstairs, do stained concrete floors, install concrete counter tops, paint downstairs, paint the hallway upstairs, etc etc etc. THAT list is pretty endless lol.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and the new year makes all your dreams a reality.