28 June 2013

Printable: Geometric Tags and Labels.

Today, I'm glad to share with you some geometric goodness! 

This is a versatile set of moody paper "rocks" that can become labels, notes, or tags, depending on whether you cut them or fold them. 

I printed mine on thick presentation paper, but if all you have on hand is the regular kind, just glue the shapes to whatever sturdy paper you can find—cereal boxes or colorful junk mail, for instance.

• To create place cards, mini notes, or gift tags, fold along the dashed lines.

• To create individual little labels, cut along the dashed line instead of folding.
Just punch a hole in a spot of your choosing & run some pretty string or ribbon through it!

You can hang these labels from canisters or boxes, listing the contents; use them to make a quick garland, or create simple, unique bookmarks by attaching them to longer strands of ribbon.

You can download the high resolution printable here. It fits an 8.5x11 sheet, each page contains 5 folded pieces, or 10 pieces (when cut along the guides).
Hope you have fun putting these together, and adding your own touches to the project!

Anabel Bouza insists there's powerful magic in the action of creating something out of a vague vision, a chill of inspiration. She is an illustrator with a passion for nature, paper manipulation, and pointing her camera at things. 

Her appreciation for simplicity dates back to a former life in Cuba where she refined the ability to see the alternative uses of common objects, and the enchanting side of things. She can be found blogging as Weird Amiga, hard at work in her sunny studio, or staring at things as if looking at them for the first time. Connect to Anabel via facebook and twitter. 

23 June 2013

Emotional Clutter

by ekkiPics

When I am talking to a client about conquering their clutter, I start by asking them to think about the reasons the clutter exists. You can always count on a lack of good organizing systems, even if it just includes a simple bowl on a table for their keys. Often, clutter is also about emotions and habits of holding on to things they really don’t need. Clutter can work as a security blanket for us. Material things can conjure up happy emotions of times past. Some things actually bring up negative feelings and they stay in our homes because we are afraid to deal with those emotions. These items might include a lost loved one’s possessions.clothes that no longer fit us or hundreds of craft projects that we promise someday to start.  It can be very hard to let go of these items.

Clutter in our lives is not always in the form of a tangible object. We have emotional clutter too. We hold onto feelings of sadness and anger that prevent us from moving forward. We hold onto dreams that no longer serve us in their original manifestation. We hide under feelings of insecurity because they seem safer and they are familiar. Although all of these emotions are completely natural they hold us back the same way the clutter in our work space can hold us back creatively. If our work desk is covered in bills and scraps of paper that we are not going to use, it is hard for many of us to feel happy and free in that space. The same goes for our heart and our spirit. If we are full of negative emotions or anger, our judgement can be clouded. There is less space for new ideas and love. Negative feelings take up a lot of real estate.

William Doverspike, Ph.D discusses forgiveness in an article for the Georgia Psychological Association. He explains forgiveness as a way of fighting anger and resentment. We use resentment because of the payoff. We think we get something in return for feeling this way. Maybe it makes us feel good to make another person feel bad. Perhaps we think resentment keeps us close to the person we lost. Maybe it helps us feel in control in a horrible situation. Doverspike appears to agree with psychologists Suzanne Freedman and Robert Enright
The process of forgiveness does not change the past; it changes the present and opens the door to the future. Forgiveness involves letting go of unrealistic expectations, which can otherwise serve as premeditated resentments. Forgiveness involves a sense of loving detachment, which is the ability to show compassion without trying to control outcomes. In the same way that letting go requires opening one’s hands, practicing forgiveness requires opening one’s heart.”  
In other words, forgiveness gives us much needed space and possibilities of freedom and happiness.

Let’s practice this emotional decluttering together. If you are holding onto negative emotions make a list of the ways these emotions are not serving you. What are you risking by not letting these feelings go? What would be the benefits of working on these feelings?

Shelly is the founder of the program Creating Space, Mindful Living – motivating and inspiring people to run their businesses more efficiently. She helps others look at their personal and professional lives and explore what is and isn’t working. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – healthy living advice to help keep you motivated and make the most out of your already busy schedule. She will help you find both the physical and emotional space so you can pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself. You can also find Creating Space on Facebook or contact shelly@creatingspacemindfulliving.com

13 June 2013

The Not So Simple World of Child Modelling

By Vanessa Williams

I wanted to take this month to step away from talking about simple living for a minute, and talk about something new we are pursuing in my household - child modelling. Since much of this blog focuses on photography I thought there may be more than a few of you out there who are curious about it; if not, move along and we’ll connect again next month.

Still here? Good. Let me first begin by saying that although modelling can be a lot of fun - it is work! Keep that in mind at all times.

The modelling world is an interesting place. I have been somewhat involved in it for years, as I work in advertising. I’ve set up and run photo shoots, so I had some idea of what we were getting ourselves into. However, we have never been on the “talent” side of the coin, so to speak.

Photo: Holly Webster

A word of caution: modelling isn’t for everyone. You need a child who is easygoing and isn’t afraid of strangers. They will be in a room full of them, and you may or may not be in the room. Kids that are good at parroting what you do, and can follow directions are great.

Missed naps are almost guaranteed as you are working with a production crew’s schedule - not your child’s. Much of your time at shoots is sitting around. There is a lot of hurry up and wait to this industry. Schedules get off track. Creative changes their mind. It’s just the nature of things.

As a parent you need to have flexible availability during the week. Shoots can come together quickly (in a matter of days) and you need to be ok dropping everything. This is not a good fit for parents who work full time. And you need to show a level of professionalism and be on time. Typical parenting excuses do not apply here.

If you still think this is a good idea, your first step is to find an agent. Child modelling in particular is a very tough industry to break into as there just aren’t as many opportunities for kids versus adults, and therefore not many agencies handle them. You want to get with a reputable agency (no, the agencies at the mall are not reputable). Agencies are groups of people who’s sole job is to find work for you. They do this by taking a percentage of your payment as a fee - usually 15-20%. In other words, if you don’t get paid, they don’t get paid.

Finding a good agency is really the hardest part. Ask around is the best advice I can give as Google won’t help you here. More work, and thus agencies are in major metros. Here in the United States, the modelling world revolves around Los Angeles and New York. Once you find a few good agencies submit three to four photos. For children, they do not have to be professional. What each agency likes and doesn’t like varies but they are all looking for a number of similar things:

1. Hair and eye color - Don’t send pictures with hats.
2. Clean, clear skin - Many agencies want pics of very small kids just in a diaper. No mealtime pics!
3. A child that connects with the camera and has personality - Got a pic where your child is looking directly at the camera? Great! Use that one.
4. Keep it simple. - Use plain backgrounds, with no toys or props.

You have a better chance of breaking into the industry if your child has a unique look - red hair, or minority children are a few that come to mind. That’s not to say All-American kids can’t get jobs. My daughter is blond-haired and blue-eyed and she has been successful.

Right now is the “high” season for child modeling. Photo shoots for catalogs are in full swing for back-to-school promotions, and then they roll right into Christmas. This works well too for school-age children who are off for the summer. Many parents specify their children will only work in the summer when school is out - this is perfectly fine. But if you have a school age child who is very serious about Hollywood, expect to pull them out of school for work and deal with the consequences.

So what can your child expect to earn? In general, jobs usually pay $50-$200, and you are not compensated for travel time or expense. The "real" money is in commercials and TV, but most jobs are in print. How many jobs your child lands is up to your child, and the success of your agent. You could have three jobs, and then none for a while. However, it’s safe to say if you don’t secure work in a month or so, it’s time to switch to a new agent.

If you do get booked for a job, don’t expect to have a lot of information about it except what you need to know to do your piece of the puzzle.They will not know if they will use your child’s image or when - so don’t ask. Often, with very small children two or three sets of kids are used to get the same shot because kids are unpredictable. Only time will tell if your child’s shots get left on the cutting room floor.

I hope this has shed some light onto the mysterious world of child modelling and helps you decide if it’s for you. We are only at the beginning of our journey but my daughter loves people and likes to be out. Since I am home most of the time, we have the flexibility. If modelling ends up being too stressful or no longer fun, we will stop. Until then, we are going to enjoy the ride.
Vanessa Williams is the author of A simply good life where she explores how lower standard of living doesn’t mean lower quality of life. After her decision to  get off the beaten track and forge new paths she has found that living with less actually means living with more. Vanessa explores the luring and dangerous grounds of the consumerism trap and offers a solemn and wise account of her real life experiences on the quest to finding what truly matters in life. Connect to Vanessa via twitter and facebook.

10 June 2013

Oslo Cafe Interiors

Today I offer you a breath of cafe air from one of the most artistic neighborhoods in Oslo - Grünerløkka.

Welcome to Grünerløkka Kaffehus where you can drink coffee from South America, buy healthy fresh bread from their own bakery or enjoy the extravagant interior in the underground level where coffee courses are also taught to educate and inspire about the ways the best coffee is being prepared and served.

Here is to a creative and unusual summer!

05 June 2013

A Simple Aromatherapy Solution for the Modern Home

Aromatherapy, or the use of essential oil for health benefits usually usually goes together with various dispersal devices.  Some of those include electric burners, a candle burners, or spray bottles with a carrier such as water. While I have always enjoyed aromatherapy, I have not enjoyed using the accoutrements that come with it whether due to finding space a burner, worrying if my kids will be getting into a candle, or humidifying a room with a water-based spray.  I have recently started using a more simple dispersal method.  For those with a central air system this will work very well.
photo with permission via Kevin Shroyer
You can simply add a few drops of essential oil to your central air filter and turn the fan on. One of the characteristics of an essential oil is that is evaporates completely. As the essential oil evaporates it will be drawn up into the ventilation system by the fan and be dispersed throughout the house. Seven drops is a good number to start with, and you may with to use more depending on the size of your home. Here are a few ideas of oils that can be used and why.
  • Lavender when there is high stress in the home
  • Lemon to deodorize bad smells.  
  • Eucalyptus or Rosemary when people in the home are recovering from a chest cold
  • Tea Tree or Oregano to fight off microbes in the air to prevent spread of cold within the family.
  • Pennyroyal use a fumigant against fleas at a higher does, such as around 30 drops, but only when animals and people are away from the house for a few hours.  

Cory Trusty is a soap maker, community herbalist, organic gardener, and homeschooling mom to two girls. Cory and her family live in Daytona Beach, Florida. Cory's background is in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Biology.  She is sharing tried and true natural home remedies and mini lessons from herbal classes that she teaches. Cory works full time making soaps, shampoo bars, herbal salves, flaxseed heat packs and more for her website AquarianBath. Read more from Cory at the Aquarian Bath blog. Cory is also a Food and Gardening writer for EcoEtsy and has published in The Essential Herbal Magazine and on the Herb Companion Blog. Connect with Cory on TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus and Pinterest.

03 June 2013

A Portrait of the Artist: Lorena Balea Raitz

Today I am happy to present to you Lorena of  BaleaRaitzART. She is an extremely talented lady who is inspired by fashion and art. Lorena expresses herself with fashion illustrations and Romanian Point Lace.

She started her fashionable stationary art shop after being asked by many friends to create unique gift wraps for them. Having a background in fashion proved to her that this was the right way to go. 

But Lorena is also interested in the ancient art of Romanian Point Lace making, which she was able to learn from her grandmother when she was still a child. Today, living in Australia Lorena not only makes Romanian Point Lace jewelry but also teaches workshops in this art and has even written a book.

She is determined to be eco-friendly in her work and uses only organic cotton to create her jewelry and acid free paper for her illustrations. 

Romanian Point Lace Jewelry Workshop

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you learn to make Romanian point lace?
My name is Lorena Balea-Raitz and I am a fashion designer and illustrator. I grew up in Europe and learned Romanian Point Lace making first with my eyes.
My grandmother was always creating Romanian Point Lace and the house was full with precious hand made lace.

I create Romanian Point Lace Jewelry and teach this ancient technique here in Brisbane, Australia.

Can you take us through your creative process? How long does a point lace necklace take to make? What else can you make with this technique?

It is a very long and time-consuming process. It looks overwhelming at the beginning but fun once you understand the technique. It takes at least 3 to 4 days to create one necklace. First, you need to create the basic cord for the necklace then you create the design.

You can do a lot with this technique. Home decor, bookmarks, fashion clothes, toys, jewelry, etc.

Romanian Point Lace Jewelry

You are also an illustrator. How do you combine both arts? Do you draw inspiration from one to the other?

I love to make fashion related illustrations and I also love to combine both the Romanian Point Lace and the illustration work. I do draw inspiration because almost every necklace I design leads to a one-of-a-kind-illustration.

Have you always been creative?
I guess I have been, considering that I always made clothes or something else. I was never happy with what I saw in stores and wanted to have unique designs. I had my first fashion show at the age of 15.

Romanian Point Lace Jewelry

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
The most challenging aspect of my work is to create original designs and re-invent this ancient technique but keep it alive.

You organize a lot of workshops. Is there much interest in your crochet art in Australia? What kind of people visit your classes?
All kinds of people visit my classes. Yes, there is a lot of interest and so I have written a little book on it as well - it goes along with my workshops.

Romanian Point Lace Jewelry

Where do you see yourself creatively in 5 years?
I see myself creating and building a brand with my designs and illustrations as well as teaching this technique and keeping it alive.

What is your current favorite item by another etsy seller?
It will be difficult for me to pick one etsy seller because there are so many and the designs are wonderful. All are great and every day I see new exciting stuff.

Keep in touch with Lorena:

Website: http://www.balea-raitz.com/
Blog: http://balearaitzart.blogspot.com/
Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BaleaRaitzART
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BaleaRaitzFashion
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BaleaRaitzART