rain or shine!

Saturday I had my doxie festival! What fun! Who knew there were so many varieties of those tiny tiny weiner dogs! And I don’t think any owners will be offeneded when I say they might very well be THE most spoiled dogs I have ever seen! Just like little children when they get tired they look up, “yip!” and their (very trained) owner picks them right up. They then rest their head in a crook of an elbow and go to sleep! Amazing! This one women who was selling these very plush bags that you carry your dog in with a shoulder strap was making a killing!! It sprinkled lightly all day longer, but the turnout was amazing and all the little weiner dogs in holiday costumes kept me smiling all day long! Well that and my orders that same in! Look for a painting of three silver dappled doxies (I didn’t know either, but you can see what they look like in my painting) coming soon! Plus some very other handsome little guys!

Then yesterday I had the golden retreiver rescue which was in a gorgeous park with a huge lake. It was sunny and beautiful and I actually got a sunburn! What great dogs goldens are!! So beautiful and friendly! I did very well at this event and just had a fabulous time! I met awesome people and both people that one my gift certificates at these events were very excited and that just makes my day!

I am now very revved up for my big festival next week, and am getting all the last of my supplies. I pick up the banner for my booth tomorrow! I can’t wait! I am hoping for a beautiful weekend without rain, but as Saturday proved, rain doesn’t seem to stop too many people from getting out and having a good time when the opportunity presents itself! Once again I think, “Wow, do I really get to make people smile for a living?! Again, thank you God for my life!”

home sweet home!

Ah….back at home. My husband, my dogs, my hot pot of coffee a room away, now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! But while I am glad to be back it was fun to go work onsite somewhere. I forgot about the office talk, being able to ‘talk shop’ with another designer, being able to bounce ideas off another, share music interests, share cool design sites, just TALK. I forget how silent it can be working for oneself. I go back a few days next week again and am sitting in on a big brainstorming meeting for a magazine they are having me work on. Ironically both designers are out next week and I will be manning their office alone. Sigh…it was nice while it lasted! 😉

Today I am painting like crazy for a doxie festival Sat and a golden festival Sun. I want to paint one of each breed for display and encourage people to order now for the Dec. holidays. Then next Saturday marks my one year anniversary into festival-dom!! I am SOOO excited and am having a banner made for my tent. It will look similar to the masthead of my website-lots of dogs across the top. I am trying to compete for the “best booth” display which comes with a cash award. Thank you design skills!!

Oh, another perk of working somewhere. Free stuff. Yesterday someone came in the design office, recognized me from when I had been there before and offered me two free tickets to the Thrashers season opener!! So my husband and I got a free date nite which only cost us $80 after babysitting, the crazy expensive food at Philips Arena, and the train ride to get there. Don’t ya love free stuff!? But it WAS alot of fun!! Ok, off to work…Oh who am I kidding?? Off to get my coffee! Oh, and I am wearing an old tee shirt, my comfy pj bottoms and bare feet. And I’m lovin it!!!

A public display of affection…

Dear Katrina (Of Feisty Scribe Fame!),

I received a surprise from you in the mail yesterday! Your card was so very thoughtful and beautiful. You are such a kind and inspiring soul and this world is so very lucky to have you in it! I was so moved by your thoughtful gift. After reading it I exclaimed out loud to an empty room, “There is hope in this world!” I know that if a person I have never met face to face in the world took her time to make me such a lovely card illustrated with honeysuckle simply because she knew I liked it…. Well, then I know this world is indeed the wonderful place I believe it to be. Thank you Katrina from the bottom of my heart. You continue to inspire not just me, but so many others everywhere. Thank you for being you and sharing yourself so openly!

Most sincerely,

Michelle

memories…

For 3 days this week and 3 days next week I am working onsite at a local college to help out while a designer is out for 2 weeks. Wow. Back to the grind. Back to non-stop work, no breaks, no dogs at my feet, no coffee pot in the kitchen, but worst of all, no working in my jammies!! Ouch! This is a great place and I love the people, (and this computer??? Yummy!!) but give me my painting jeans and old tee shirt any day of the week! Next time I complain about having to chase down checks I will remember all of this… ok, I am on another’s dime, I better git….

nice things happen when you listen…

So I decided to simplify. And I listened. I have been calm and enjoying life. True, is has only been two days, but two days without anxiety is worth noting. As a result of not stressing about meeting impossible deadlines or trying to do projects that have not proven to be financially profitable and instead concentrating on thing that are tried and true, nice things have happened. See, I was ALL stressed about getting prints and cards and magnets and mini paintings done for my festivals. I decided to not accept any more design work and do prepare instead. Now, I will let you in on a secret. None of my cards sell at my fundraisers, and while I have a whole bunch of mini paintings on display, people are still ordering customized ones. So, all this work to make things does nOT sell, but DOES produce commissions. And I am finally embracing that. I am not a product artist – I am a pet portrait artist. That is what people buy from me. So now I am faced with the lovely fact that I am completely ready for my festival as is. I have a good 20 paintings to display in my tent and all I have to do is make a few more signs. Which pretty much frees me up. So I decided to just be open to some more design work should it come in. Yesterday I was dropping off the files to the printer for the poster and mailer I did ( http://www.abeytacreative.com/poster.html and http://www.abeytacreative.com/mailer.html ) and they asked me to do 2 more projects and work onsite for 6 days. One of the projects is a magazine spread and one is a once a month newsletter that will be ongoing. Niiiice. So I released my grip and my fear on projects that haven’t provided me a penny and a tidal wave of no stress projects poured in. I got 2 new commission in the mail yesteday as well! Plus a golden retriever rescue has asked me to come set up a booth at their annual fundraiser this month! I guess when we listen, the universe like to let us know it was pleased!

Listen to what YOUR heart is telling you, like I always say, it won’t lead you astray!

simplifying

This weekend was a perfect fall weekend. The sky was a shade of blue that made you stare, not quite believing the luminous blue was for real-a shade so saturated it didn’t seem possible. My husband did yard work, my kids ran in and out of the house, my dogs chased frisbees. And the whole time I had a gnawing uneasy feeling. I was supposed to be doing something, not just relaxing, enjoying the day. I felt like I was playing hooky. A year ago I imagined this moment. Making a living doing what I chose to, enjoying my family and my time with them. So why in the world should I not be completely at ease??? I explained my feelings to my husband to which he (a bit too quickly) replied, “It is because you can’t relax! You can’t just ‘be’ in the moment and enjoy. You always need to be thinking of your next great idea!” Wow. This annoyed me, irritated me, really steamed me up. A sure sign that he was exactly right. Ever since I was a young girl I have schemed to make money, had goals, plans, something in the works. It seems I am not happy if I don’t have a bunch of things going at once. This past Thursday I took the morning off and I painted a painting just for me. It was so different than anything I have ever done and it was so freeing. At the end it was exactly what had been in my head and I was so happy with it. So happy I did another, then another. “Hmmm, I began thinking, I should do a whole series and contact some galleries…” See? I just can’t relax. Can’t just “be.” So I really thought about all this last night. After a lot of contemplation I decided to simplify. That for the next few months I will concentrate on nothing else but commissions. I may draw or sketch for me, but no brainstorming on how it might make me money. That not only gets exhausting, but takes the pleasure of creating away. I will have more than enough work with my commissions. I am not going to offer holiday cards, or prints, or anything else. I will enjoy my holiday season by painting other people’s dogs and maybe something else just for me. It is comforting to think that I am giving myself permission to enjoy what I have and know it is enough. I have the beginning of next year to try new things and see where it goes. I don’t anticipate this will be that easy at first, but simplifying sounds really nice right now.

honeysuckle love

I am in love with the scent of honeysuckle. Today my husband was working and our second car has sadly taken it’s final breath, so he dropped me and the kids off very early at their school. I ate breakfast with them then walked the mile or so home. On the way home I passed by some honeysuckle. Immeadiately I smiled. I picked some and just smelled it the whole way home. I get giddy off the perfume of this flower. I can’t even explain it! It just makes me so happy!! Right now it is sitting next to me in a glass and I just keep inhaling it. I have looked high and low for any thing honeysuckle scented. Apparently I am not in a majority that love this scent. Target a few years back carried a spritzer that I LOVED, but after one season discontinued it. One of the bath and body places recently had a honeysuckle scented line, but it was awful, smelled mostly of alcohol and was no good. There is a perfume called Michael that is very close, but is $50 a bottle and well, it is not THAT close. I am on a hunt for anything honeysuckle! So my next idea is to buy the essential oil and make it myself. I am almost to that point. If any of you out there know of any honeysuckle products out there…contact me! Write in in my comments section or email me. I will be grateful forever! I will paint your dog for you!! Anything!! Mmmmm, the scent just washed over me again….I swear it is a chemical reaction…love, love, love honeysuckle!! This surely is what heaven smells like.