Monday, September 24, 2012

Rockified urban changing table..

A much needed addition to the art studio, since many of my new students have younger siblings.  I've needed to get it up there for months, but had a HUGE piece of furniture blocking it in my garage that some friends just came to get.  It had the paint on it from Diego's room (before that it was purple for Sophie, and before that it was a factory pine finish), so I jazzed it up with some paint splatters, and spray paint stenciling.  Now it's much more hip, funkified, and stylish for the studio.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Organizing supplies on a dime

I thought I'd show a few more shots from the studio, on how I've organized some of my art supplies!  The shelves themselves were all FREE as well: scrap wood from the curb and from leftover projects from friends, and the black bookcases were originally brown and green, and were given to me by a friend who moved out and couldn't take them with her.

Paintbrushes above the sink are in re-purposed cans; I've spray painted all the cans one of 2 colors:
-White= NO sharp edges of any kind, safe for kids hands or to be left out.
-Red= NOT safe for kiddos, these have either one bit of tin that isn't smooth, or are the 'pop-top' soup type cans, where they aren't perfectly smooth.  It's kind of an icky way to remember, but they are red, cause they are sharp....and a cut makes blood.  Gross, but easy to remember!

Glass jars!  Love!  Makes it so easy to see everything.  They are kept high though, so little hands don't reach them/

The top shelf has loads of decorative boxes and tins, to hold other lovely things that arent' necessarily pretty.  Office supplies, Hot glue guns, etc..  They will eventually get a tag on them so I can see what they hold without having to open each one. :)  For now, most of them are actually empty.

the little turquoise and minty blue baskets are from $1 stores, and are great for transferring to the tables.  I love having a basket for sharpeners, erasers, different types of markers, etc. etc.

The black trays on top of the shelves serve 2 purposes: first, they keep things contained, like water spills from the cups or paint from the palettes, and to bridge the gap on top of the shelves between the wall.  The baseboards in this quirky home are really funky and fat, so there are about 4" between the wall and the top that we don't want to lose supplies in!  The trays were originally $1 at Target, and I got them at the thrift store on 1/2 price day, so I only paid 25cents each for them.  They are stackable (necessary when you have bulk supplies!) and hold lots of spillage; great for the kid's tables for paint and water cups.

The pop-up red fabric bins on the lower shelves are from Wal-Mart, they were 3 in a pack for $4.50 but recently went on clearance, so they may be cheaper!  They hold rubber stamps, painting rags, collage papers, inks, glues, and all sorts of other wonders!

Yesterday in day one of the preschool classes, we had a quick lesson on color mixing, and introducing the primary and secondary colors.  I used 6 jars, starting with just red, yellow and blue water, and we poured them together into the other 3 jars to make our secondary colors.  At the end of class, as a time-filler, we reviewed our colors, and I let the kids 'make music' with them with a spoon, tapping each jar to count the colors or say the color name.  At the end, the pretty-rainbow-waters were so lovely I couldn't bear to pour them down the drain, so now they are eye-candy in the kitchen window, at least until they evaporate!  I used Crayola Color Dotz (bathtub dye!).

Thanks for taking another little glimpse into the studio with me!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Happy Pretty Shiny things

A friend visited the studio last week and snapped these lovely photos... You can become a fan of her photography on her facebook fan page: Jessica Rambo Photography  or, for more photos from the studio,  follow her BLOG!

BALLOONS for the open house!

happy little paint spinner

my daughter was a LITTLE bit excited. :)

AMAZING one of a kind aprons by Revel Designs!

The 'hot lava' rug....

paintbrush chandelier!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Quotes of the Month (February)

I thought it would be fun to make some quick signs each month for the studio wall, with inspirational artist quotes.  These are just paint pen on top of layers of spray paint and acrylics on canvas.

e.e. cummings.  WISE. :)


Andy Warhol.  An interesting pairing, but wise words from both, none-the-less.

Do you have a great artist quote I should use in the future?  Share it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

upcycled decor (part 1)

I had fun in the studio recently, with a bit of freestyle creativity, mainly using upcycled objects.  If you aren't in the know, upcycled stems (obviously) from the word 'recycled', but, instead of just reusing the object or turning into another one similar to it, you are actually giving it a NEW use, a new life, and raising the value of it.  You take something that would normally be trashed or recycled through conventional means, and give it a new creative life, and a value!  It's one of my favorite things to do, and really shows some of the heart behind Artful Mayhem Studio, creating beauty without rules or guidelines.

The Chandelier
I've saved my crusty abused paintbrushes over a long period of time to someday give them a place of honor---- now, with a found metal object they've become a chandelier! I just tied each one on with clear fishing line, and kept adding more until I had the right balance.

Colorful Tchotckes (you know, 'chotch-kees')
These trophies were found in a pile in someone's yard, ready for the bulk trash truck.  A bit of spray paint, and voila!  Fun sculptures!

They live on a shelf above the sink (shelf was $1 at the thrift, I just painted it black!)

Graffitied Memo Board
This was a perfectly fine little brown memo board... but I'm not a fan of brown wood, so it got some spray-painted layers for a funky touch.  Perfect attitude for the studio!

Unconventional 'front door' signage.
This piece of foam core started life as a church sign for events.  When that event was over it was doomed for the trash, until I rescued it.  I LOVE painting on these sturdy signs, and have used them for my booth for events as well.  A front and back side for the door of the studio keeps people in the know about the day, and is made with spray paint, stick on vinyl that I cut to size, paint, and some stickers (also spray painted cause they were animal print before).
OPEN!  (but please use the side door, lol)

Indoor welcome signage!
Paint and sharpies on more scrap foam core boards.  My daughter painted most of the bottom ones, I just wiped some wet stencils on top for more layers, then added the words.

The Art Wall
Of course the 'stuff inside of frames' thing gets done a LOT, but this is my take on it.  All of these are found frames, either curbside or at the thrift for $4 or less.  Some were donated by my amazing friend Cindy, and were so vintage and pretty I hesitated to spraypaint them!  But we did it any way.  These will feature art from various students, and be used to show off upcoming projects and workshops.

This is the 'waiting' area.  Almost all art is from my daughter when she was 3-5 years old.

Doorpane memo board
This 6-foot wooden pane came out of one of our back 'French' doors.  There are 2 doors, and while only one of them actually opens, there was only one of these panes.  Weird.  So out it came, and got wrapped with miles of some fishing line, and now hangs on the wall of my office for me to fill with random pretty things!

Scrap wood shelves.
I actually got the brackets for these shelves off the curb too, and the wood is leftovers from projects of mine and my friend Dana.  I don't really care that the main board is warped, as it still works!  Free shelves plus free paint.  Of course the jars are just upcycled too, I asked friends to save me their empties for a few weeks.  They now hold loads of lovely paintbrushes and other supplies.  The ones with the tins above the kitchen sink are just small boards (1x6's) that I got off the curb, we just used small pieces of the wood to make the 'brackets', since they won't hold much weight.

And the little ones above the sink:

Part 2 will come next week, I have quite a few more things to share with you! Make sure to subscribe or follow the blog so you'll get the early update!
I hope you enjoyed seeing all the little projects! Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Artful Mayhem Studio

Just a quick little photo from the Artful Mayhem Studio open house last Saturday; obviously  my absence here is just a reflection of how busy things have been the past few weeks, both wrapping up the madness that occurred with our house project, as well as getting everything for the studio ready!

While I thoroughly researched all that I'd need to launch this new 'brick and mortar' business, there was more time involved than expected in each step... From city codes and inspections to sign permits, setting up credit and deposits for utilities, to the launching of a new website and html codes and newsletters, liability waivers and insurance, and legal disclaimers in policies and procedures, each step seemed to take a bit more effort and time than I had hoped.  But I have done it.

Although I've taught in the past, and had most of my curriculum and supplies in order, it's a whole 'nother level when it's launched big-time to the public. 

With losing a week of set-up time at the studio due to the home reno disaster, I was under a time crunch last week to get it all ready. I just focused on doing one thing at a time, prioritizing each project and crossing it off the list to launch another.  There were some long days involved, but my help was just remembering 'I can only do what I can do'.  That kept me from getting stressed.  I just didn't want to get too preoccupied, or run past other's needs just focused on my own.  I also asked for HELP when I needed it!  It's funny how certain friends have really stepped up to pitch in and support me; and how others have been mysteriously absent.  Whether it was showing up at the studio with hands ready to help, or spreading the word about the studio, baking cupcakes for the open house, or supporting me by just signing up their kids for classes, I have taken it all in.  I think I'm trying to ignore the silence I've gotten from others that I had counted on, that I trusted and had expected support from.  Instead I'm relishing the love I have received, celebrating that instead of being upset from the lack-of it from others.

I hope that's not too much of a 'downer' note to leave you on.  I honestly have too much to do to try to figure out a way to pep it up!  One thing I'm looking forward to is posting pics of some of the fun projects we did in the studio using recycled materials.  Right now though, I need to get some unfinished business done up there, like actually planting the flowers in the pots (they are just set on top of them for now, lol!) and finishing my signage for both doors, as well as ordering t-shirts and flyers.  Oh, and preparing for my big show this weekend, Underground!  It's pretty much guaranteed to be brilliant.

Until then...keep dreaming! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

the hot mess

This week was a zoo.  Saturday to Friday it has been the most emotional, stressful week I can remember, at least back to the week before my wedding!

The quick story:
We have water damage, insurance sends money, we hire contractor, he hires someone else to do the job, that guy makes a giant mess in our home, original contractor says he'll fix it in one day but takes 2 days and only gets 1/2way done, I ask them to leave, and a professional cleaning crew of 4 comes in to take 3 days to clean up the mess.   Needlesstosay, a hot mess.

I'll post more photos later, but just know, it was a nightmare.

So far, so good, scraping popcorn is done, fixing damaged sheet rock seams to retexture

a bit nerve-wracking.... my entire living room covered in plastic as they are fixing the damaged spots

Sophie's bed....seriousllllllly? SCARY.  They walked on her stuff too, and broke the curtain rod.

nasty waterlogged sheet rock in the attic that they told us they replaced

water damage in ceiling that they tried to say they replaced, but instead they just textured over it and painted it.  After it was done, the whole ceiling had to be torn out again to be fixed

typical display of the sheet rock and popcorn ceiling dust that covered our ENTIRE home.  Every floor, shelf, book, painting, dish, piece of furniture, bed, etc. etc.

It's getting better now, 4 determined women with vacuums and cleaning supplies are taking it by force so we will be back home ASAP.  (Clicks heels 3 times).  Even then, we will have at least 20 loads of laundry to do, and EVERY dish to wash.  How exciting! :/

I promise to jump in with a happier note next week, of the progress of the studio and my 3 newest paintings!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What is today? Wednesday?

Seriously, what a blur.  I can not believe everything that has happened these past 10 days!

Just today, I finished making my first big batch of yogurt (not even hard to do and so yummy), got a faucet at Home Depot and took it to the landlord for the workroom sink, got a business phone, went and hooked it up, filed amendments to my lease (and they were approved, yea!), submitted an old invoice for a custom job last fall, and set up not only my certificate of occupancy, but the inspection for that AND the fire inspection.  Yikes!  I will have a key within 48 hours, and, pending all inspections go as planned, be able to begin painting and moving in by Friday afternoon!  Squeeeee!  Exciting!  It's fun to have a 'business mailing address' and phone number.  All legit.  I've been STALKING my bank account all day, waiting and waiting for the LLC paperwork to be approved (my new corporate business license with the state).  I've never wanted to see my bank account;postID=5219478942825968316drop $300 this desperately!  lol.  Hopefully today, then I can set up my bank account.

It's so rad and random how things keep being offered up for the studio.  Today  I found a nice desk that someone had pitched to the curb; i didn't need the desk but have you seen all the cute stuff that people have been making with empty drawers?  I'll attached them to the wall for storage.
This one is my favorite:

All in all, this is a ride, but it's fun.  Like this:
I'm alllll in, baby!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The big, scary dream

just barely enough strength to stay above the flame... portion of my original painting

Last night as I lay in bed, I had a fleeting thought.... 'WHAT have I done!????'. 

I just signed a lease that is more than our monthly mortgage on our home.  I just committed to open a new business, a corporation, with walls, and plumbing, and a mailbox, and all the monthly bills, including liability insurance. 
the part where I signed on every page.... all 25 of them

I just jumped headfirst after my dream.

It's so much bigger than me.  This thought, this vision, this plan, suddenly has come into reality, it's much more than I could ever do just by my little ol' self.  And yet, I just did.  Last night I decided to refocus my busy mind with my daily devotional reading, and came upon this, from Thursday (the day I committed to the lease of the studio), before I had read this, and also before we were rushed to the ER for hubby:

"True dependence is not simply asking Me to bless what you have decided to do.  It is coming to Me with an open mind and heart, inviting Me to plant My desires within you. I may infuse within you a dream that seems far beyond your reach.  You know that in yourself you cannot achieve such a goal.  Thus begins your journey of profound reliance on Me.  It is a faith-walk, taken one step at a time, leaning on Me as much as you need."  by Sarah Young

WOW.  Seriously? I love how sometimes you get hit full force by what you need to hear.  That is precisely the January 5th reading in this book.  I didn't get to it that day (6 hours in the ER with hubby will throw off your schedule), but it totally speaks to what I was facing.

Here is a snippet from Friday's reading:
"I am able to do far beyond all that you ask or imagine.  Come to Me with positive expectations, knowing that there is no limit to what I can accomplish."  by Sarah Young

Stellar. So this isn't about me after all?  That's a relief!  Cause I ain't no superwoman, I couldn't bear to face this giant mountain if I didn't feel I had a clear path, direction, and support.

Not only do I have that peace of spirit, but I've been so comforted, moved, and delighted by the amount of support that I've gotten these past 4 days, from friends near and far, regarding all aspects of this decision.  It's pretty great how friends who are from so many diverse areas of life have come together in agreement with what I am doing; I have devoted Christians, family members, hippie artists, childhood pals, atheists, art patrons, anti-religious, basically all types, who have risen up in support of this venture.  The one commonality that they have is their belief in me.  How rad is that?  And also, a bit frightening.  Luckily, some of them have also chimed in with 'how can I help?'.  And, I will be answering that question!

I saw this baby pinned on Pinterest last night:
By Ex Libris Journals, on Etsy

And this one, that I pinned a few weeks ago:
Source: .philanthropyfashion

Well, time to grow up, I guess!  As long as I can keep my pink hair and converse, I'm good.

Who's got my back?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ya got it? I want it!

I  need quite a few random things for the art studio, so I'm enlisting your help!  Some of what I'm seeking to start off is recyclable stuff, meaning you probably use it and pitch it in the bin each month, so you might as well wash it and give it to me for a new life! Some of it is a request for things you might have lying around unused, or you are going to replace soon. I'll be updating this list daily as I fulfill needs or have more, so comment if you have something to donate, or send me a message either on facebook or to info @ artfulmayhemstudio DOT (com).  Most of these items new are only $1-30 bucks each, which is pretty minimal, UNLESS you consider that you have to buy all of them at once, before you even open your doors.  That's why I'm happy to accept your hand-me-downs!

'Junk' NEEDS:
-glass jars, any size from baby food up to the giant pickle jars  (need a LOT of these, approx. 100), washed with labels removed, keep the lid if you have it!  No plastic (peanut-butter-type) jars.
-empty tin cans; ones where they have been opened with a SAFE can opener (no sharp edges).  Sizes: from tomato paste to regular 'Campbell's soup' size to the giant ones. (need: approx 30 of these).

image courtesy of
-Wood scraps: (2x4's, 4x6's, pieces of plywood, mdf, etc.)   Thanks Dana!
-altoid tins
-child-friendly magazines for collage.  No fashion mags with risque photos, or violent images, please.
-metal tins (like those Christmas cookies or popcorn ones!).  any design.
-those plastic cups they give your kids at Chili's, etc. with cartoon characters on them!

Misc. Household item & furniture needs: 
(these can be in 'used' condition, for sure!)
Coffeepot  got it! thanks Cindy!

Small Microwave
Mini Fridge got it!  Thanks Eric!
Dishtowels/dish rags (any color, worn out is fine) thank you, Rachel!

misc. flatware!  I don't care if they match, I want 4 each of forks, spoons, and knives. bought them
Indoor small broom
outdoor 'park' bench
washable rug for bathroom
soap dish
wall pencil sharpener
electric pencil sharpener
bookshelves  (got a few! Thanks Joycelyn! could use a few more)
table lamp or freestanding floor lamp (got one, need one more!) Thanks Dana and Venicia

storage bins (most sizes, ask if you have something!)
outdoor trash can
any books about art, or drawing, or crafting, or art history, any level
children's picture books, any condition (for kids in the 'waiting' area)
kitchen faucet (one for 3 or 4 holed sink) purchased

We can always use random art supplies you might have an excess of:
scissors (kids or adult)
paper (printer paper, watercolor, misc. scrapbooking or manilla or construction)
post-it notes
glue sticks
tape (scotch or painters)
elmer's school glue
wooden clothespins
Sharpies!  any color
colored pencils (any type)
file folders

Friendly helpful items you could buy new to bless us:
anything on the lists above!
AA Batteries (rechargeable if possible)
giftcard for Target, IKEA, World Market, Home Depot, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Ross, etc!
case of toilet paper
case of paper towels
kleenex tissues
antibacterial hand gel
Command hooks
watercooler (like the ozarka 2-3 gallon ones)
tubes of acrylic paint
lightbulbs (energy efficient, please)

The past 48 hours...

My brain is on hyper-drive, and my heart is close behind it.  The past 48 hours have been a whirlwind; first I found what seemed to be the 'perfect' space to finally launch my public art studio, then did a ton of business research to see what it would take to open it, maintain it, etc. etc..... Finally at 1:45 yesterday, I felt enough peace and confidence that this was the right decision, and officially called the landlord and committed to the space!  A leap of faith!

Here's a mini snapshot of the building, a cute old house, converted to a business, RIGHT on 377 in Old Town Keller!  SO fun!  Sorry the image isn't great, it's a google snapshot.  I will get a better one updated soon.

Meanwhile, at that moment my hubby was in the waiting room inside at the Doctor, for what looked to be a stomach virus, and was told to go to the ER for possible appendicitis! 6 hours (and a cat scan, IV, meds, and oxygen) later, he was home, diagnosed with both a virus, and an intense stomach issue that we can treat with rest and meds at home. 

I'm sure the timing of it all isn't by chance, if I hadn't made the decision early yesterday to move forward, I worry my faith would have been shaken too much to commit.  All in all, it's confirmation that we do need to move forward, regardless of any fear or temporary circumstance.  The only thing to lose is money, and time. I think we can all agree that the first of those is really insignificant when you think of the more important aspects of life. 

I'm meeting with the landlord today to settle on terms and sign the lease.  If all goes well, I'll be opening a public art studio which will be used for creative classes (ages 3-adult), as well as occasional gallery night events, showcasing the work of talented local artists.  The plans are enormous, the to-do list is overwhelming.  I'm going to need help along the way too, but I'm confident that all will fall into place.

Thank you to each of you for your support, encouragement, and challenging questions these past few days  (on Facebook) as I contemplated this life-changing decision and wrestled with last night's hospital visit.  I take all of your interactions to heart.  You are the best!

To keep up with what is going to happen with the studio, and get first dibs on classes, find out when you can donate your misc. unused household recyclables, items, or furniture, or refer others to register, add my NEW Facebook page for the business: Artful Mayhem Studio!!!!  I will send out word through those in the coming weeks as I get to the next steps.  Grand opening, February 4th, 2012!
*Update!* check HERE for the list of donations (your used random stuff) I'm needing!

With Zeal,

Monday, January 2, 2012

Blogging for no good reason...

So, I kind of ditched my blog a few months ago when things got busy with art shows.  I think it has just been much more rewarding (socially) to post on my Facebook, where I get quick feedback, then here where I just hear crickets....

I've resisted blogging for a few years now, honestly, I didn't really see the point of it when people have to track you down to see what you are doing.... and on Facebook (which I am obviously a big fan of) your posts just happen in among those of their friends and family.  A big part of it, too, was that I hate (well, strongly dislike)  updating my website, and this blogging thing sort of felt like the same thing.

I'm learning now, that it isn't, of course.  With the discovery of some killer blogs like Sarah of Thrifty Design Chick) , Lisa from Lil Blue Boo, and Casey from Casey Leigh (The Wiegands) I see the value in following someone that you feel a connection to, or share similar design tastes, parenting styles, sense of humor, etc.  Of course, I have some friends and family that blog too, so instead of just tracking their lives and posts, I might as well chase them down via blog as well.

Now, after a blog hiatus due to my crazy busy schedule of holiday art shows, and then 2 weeks of actual holiday madness, I now have a bit of a break before things fire up again in February for my business.  I'm planning out not only that time, but also the year... what's next with my personal relationships?  my art?  my time?  my fitness?  Time to decide, to kick it in gear.

I haven't decided if I'll blog or not, and I'm not ready to decide.  It's funny, I actually 'think' in blog posts.  I work on a project, or a recipe, and actually 'write it out' in my head.  Thing is, it doesn't make it here.  Maybe I just haven't felt the value of blogging yet?  How many people out there just type and type, hoping to influence others, and it just floats out into cyberspace, with no effect?  I see that a lot.  And I don't want that to be me.

I'm not sure if I thought starting this blog would be to help me, or to record my thoughts for posterity, or to help encourage others, or to build my business.  It was probably a slice of each of those, all thrown together.  One thing I do know, is that September, 4 months ago, launched a new season for me.  I made changes to my habits, my friendships, my time, my goals, and, most importantly, my health.  I just decided to live more as myself.  I took control of my eating habits and diet.  I started exercising.  I produced new, personal, emotional work for my first solo art exhibition.  I dyed a big chunk of my hair bright red.  I did a 6 week, intensive detox diet (and didn't cheat).  By the end of the year, as I turned 35, I feel like I launched myself both forward and backward, claiming parts of me that have sat long dormant, and defining parts of me that haven't had the chance to flourish before.  I feel so much more 'ME' than I have in 10+ years.  It's good, really good.

I think, as I type this, I want to clarify that I want this blog not to be so much of a commitment, or even a goal, but here when I need it to be.  I don't want to have something else to keep up with, or to work for.  I don't want to work to have my words be politically or grammatically correct (which, I'm sure will horrify both my cousin Joel, and friend Dana, among others).  I just want it to be reflective, more like a journal would be.  There's no auto correct, or edit/copy/delete/paste function in an old school lined paper diary.  That's how I want to roll here. From the heart.

I guess I just plan to show up when I want to, haphazardly, sometimes with a specific sentiment or project to share, sometimes just to share.  Either way, I hope to catch you along the ride.