Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Over the River and Through the Woods

To Grandmother's (and Grandfather's! and Aunt's! and Uncle's! and Cousin's!) houses we go. We're on day two of our nearly 1,000 mile trek to the East Coast to visit our family. First stop is Maryland, then Philadelphia, then Connecticut. We don't make it back as often as we'd like, but when we do we try to make the most of our time and see as many people as we can. I wish you the merriest and happiest of all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wa-hoo 2!

Mostly Metals is ranked #70 on Amazon's Top 100 metal working books (even though it's a bead stringing book, not a metal working book). We really struggled with the title, because all the jewelry is silver, gold, or copper, but the projects are very easy beginner beading projects. I'm so happy for the book reviews that point that out.

Don't forget, if you order my books online, I'll send you a signed book plate as a thank-you.
Just send me an email at karinbuckingham@yahoo.com, or post a message here.

OK, I'm done bragging today. I need to get back to work. Thanks to all for so much support.


Altered You! is #75 on Amazon's Top 100 List of non-fiction books for girls! Now, this list is updated hourly, so it might not be there when you check, but for now at 9:00am Central Time, I'm enjoying my moment. Just wanted to share...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Google Tools

Do you wake up wondering, "does Karin have a new post today?" (just kidding). Do you get mired in the web-ness of the world wide web and link from one blog to the next, blissfully losing track of time and then panicking because it's suddenly time to go pick up the kids? Do you avoid checking blogs for that very reason? Well, that's what used to happen to me, until I found Google Reader. This nifty tool lets me follow as many blogs as I want. It gathers a list of new posts, and I get a summary when I log in. I can skim the topics, read the entries, see the photos -- all from the Google Reader window. If something really intrigues me, I can click through and get to the blog itself in an instant. So, sign up for Google Reader and list Artful Crafts as your first blog to track.

If you'd like an even more passive approach to blog following, become a subscriber. All you need to do is click on the nifty widget on the right side of this blog that says "Follow this Blog." You'll get e-mail alerts notifying you of every fascinating posting I make!

As a blog writer, I love Google Analytics. It lets me know all kinds of interesting things about all of you. So even though you don't comment very often, I know you're out there and reading my blog!

Have you noticed my Like it, love it, try harder buttons? For those of you who don't care to comment, you can still let me know what you think by rating my posts. Don't worry, I'll never know who voted, but the results will help me shape my content.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Too cold, too soon!

I'm a big fan of cold, crisp winter days, but IMHO, 20 degrees is about as low as I like to go. Ok, maybe 15. I usually walk outside in all but the most driving snowstorms. But, when it's this cold, this early in the season, it wears me out. We usually don't get single digits until Feb., and with the exception of last winter, we usually have cold without the snow, so walking conditions are brisk but fine. My poor doggie is going to have to wait until high noon today, when it only promises to be about 10. How's your weather?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Searching for your muse?

Creative Road block

Ten Tips for getting past your creative dead end

1. Pick a project from a magazine, or buy a kit, and make the project according to the directions as they are written – no short cuts. This will force you to think like another designer, and a slightly different approach to a project can teach you a few things.

2. Take a walk, ride your exercise bike, or even do a sink-load of dishes by hand. The repetitive motion of the mindless task will let your mind wander, and you may just stumble onto your path out of your road block.

3. Try a small project in a new hobby – if you bead, sew something. If you paint, try polymer clay. Working in a similar, but new-to-you medium may help you look at the same-old-same-old (color blending, for example) in a new way.

4. Make a gift: choose colors for your friend, not for you. Think of your friend as you work. Consider her colors, her size, her preferences. Your gift will come from the heart, and you may find that thinking away from your own style will re-open your creativity.

5. Accept a commission. Kind of like #4, making something to someone else’s specifications will make you consider new materials, new combinations, new approaches.

6. Look through pictures of your old work (you do take pictures of your masterpieces before you release them, don’t you??). When I’m on a jewelry-making roll, something kind of takes over, and I make things I really had no prior plans for. Call it my muse. When I look back at old work, sometimes I think, “Wow. That was really good, and I hardly remember making it.”

7. Get thee to a city. For me, it’s Milwaukee’s Third Ward, or preferably, Chicago. I love my country life, but more than a few times a year I need to see the crowds, check out what people are really wearing, see what’s in the stores. I’m instantly refreshed, and ready to get going.

8. If you’re a city-dweller, come on out to the country. The rolling landscape, even in winter, can be quite inspiring. I see more than seven shades of brown (an a whole lotta white) outside my window right now.

9. If you can’t get to the city or the country, go ahead and watch some TV. Now, I’m not a big fan of TV, and I went several years without seeing an episode of everyone’s favorite Sunday-night drama. However, when I finally turned it on, I smacked my forehead. What a great source for fashion and jewelry inspiration! The same can be said for lots of sitcoms and even the nightly news.

10. Just do it. Jump in, get going, bite off more than you can chew. You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t get started. Even if you have to un-do everything you’ve done, doing something is much better than doing nothing.