That was a bit of a stretch!

I’m so very sorry for the extended absence!  I’m currently working on and finishing a quilting for a friend of mine.  She recently moved to NYC and it’s rather cold there.  What better than a quilt?  Pink and purple, all scraps, for the top.  The backing is two different flannels, and I purchased fabric for the binding today.

I embroidered “Love Hope Joy Mars” on one of the blocks.  My friend’s nickname is Mars, hence the reason for embroidering it.

Tomorrow I begin the process of binding it, Sunday it gets washed, and Monday it’ll be shipped.  I hope she receives it by Friday.  The weather in her area has been rather wild as of late.

I also made a gift for one of my grandmothers!  Her favorite color is blue, but I decided to balance it out with pink and green.

Pre and Post Wash

A before and after picture!  A quilt isn’t a quilt until it’s been washed, right?

I also participated in a Secret Santa event and created a simple candle mat that took very little time.  I learned a new block and it was all finished in less than a week.  Yay!

A couple weeks ago I finished making the back of the Stained Glass Quilt I’m working on.  It’s different colors, each bordered in black, like the front.  Except the sections of color are MUCH larger than the blocks.  Pictures of the backing will be taken when I finish the quilt.  I had to purchase batting today while it was on sale.  The quilt is twin size, but I didn’t have any twin size batting.

I apologize again for the long absence.  Life has been wild as of late, not the boring calm I like.  Quilting is what’s been keeping me grounded and calm, and after so many hours of work the last thing I want to do is sit at my computer.

I finally got suckered into getting a smartphone though!  I left the cell phone company I was with because I didn’t like their stance on Net Neutrality, plus the prices and customer service are terrible.  I switched to CREDO, and for 1GB of data between two smartphones it costs us $62/month.  We received two Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphones for free when we signed up.

Because I have smartphone I now have an Instagram page!  You can keep up with my life and work on there.  My Instagram is ReneetheChaosfay.

How have the rest of you been?  Keeping busy?  Is the new year treating you well?


Holiday Sale!

I sell my painting and photography prints on several sites, but the one I favor most is Fine Art America.  The reason?  I set my markup price.  The site sets their price and I add an amount to it that I want to be paid.  The site takes no cut and I lose no money!  Very few sites offer this and instead take from the artists, as much as 80% of the sale.  Ouch!

Currently I have a discount sale active on Fine Art America.

Use coupon code GRJALA  for 50% off your total purchase.  No minimum amount for the purchase.

My FAA page is located here.

They ship worldwide!  You can have my work printed on shower curtains, various towels, and even yoga mats!

As a show of thanks to everyone who has supported me I’m offer a 60% discount on all purchase of $30 USD or more.  It’s for all listings, old and new!  The sale will run from November 20th to December 20th.

Where you can you take advantage of this fantastic sale?  Right here at my Etsy shop.

New listings will be added as I make new items.  This includes jewelry, quilts, home decor, and original artwork!  The discount will be applied automatically to your cart when you checkout.  No coupon code is required.

Thank you!

blow a kiss with Jasper
Here’s a kiss from me and Jasper!

Some Input from my Readers

I’m finding it difficult to choose what I should make next.  I set up a poll here on my deviantArt page to me choose:.

If you don’t have an account (it’s free) you can instead leave your vote here in a comment.

Options are as follows:

  1. Red iridescent tumbled glass chips, sparkly silver acrylic star beads, acrylic black butterfly beads, black and red pendant – necklace
  2. Gold sunstone beads with seed beads and an aged copper zodiac pendant – choker
  3. Tourmalated quartz beads, green iridescent seed beads, silver pewter dragon pendant – choker
  4. Jade colored cat’s eye beads, blue iridescent seed beads, silver pewter unicorn pendant – choker
  5. Cracked silver glass beads, transparent iridescent black seed beads, tree with a shiny moon pendant – choker
  6. Quilted Rainbow coasters (project I was working on before the fire happened)

I’ll be taking a few days of not making anything to give my hands a good break.  Five days sounds healthy to me.  On November 4th I’ll look at the results of the poll and votes and create in the order of the most to least votes.

Until then I’ll be chilling out like Jasper, the kitty in the photograph.

Thank you!  Just leave a comment here with what you would like to see finished first.


Food for Thought

I’ve finished my commissions.  The only one I need to make will be made when the commissioner’s MedicAlert plaque arrives.  Until then it’s just me playing with pretty colors and working on the endless trade with balthasarcraft A trade we’ve been doing for…six or seven years now.

I’ve just finished a choker* I was working on before I started on commissions.  I have about a dozen pieces planned out, but I’m not about to go diving in because I have other projects to work on as well.  I need to prevent burnout as well as injury.  A very delicate balance.  Thankfully I have quilting and painting to rotate through.

Personally, I feel every artist should be able to do, and enjoy, more than one form of art.  For example, a painter who only creates paintings with oils is likely to deal with artist’s block and burnout unless they can rotate through, oh, making mini-sculptures with clay or Play-Dough, or just doodling for the hell of it.  I had a professor in college who felt that not focusing on one medium meant you’re not a true artist (WTF?), and when she found out I felt differently she decided to use me for a lesson.  Too bad she couldn’t embarrass me seeing as I thought her philosophy was rather absurd.  Oh, and a couple weeks after that shit-show she had “the beast of all artist’s block” and refused to do any teaching for the rest of the semester.  She went on a six month sabbatical to “recover her spirit”.  Folks, play with other mediums.  Doesn’t mean you have to master them.

“A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

Get some Play-Dough, feel like a child, make a mess, be silly, doesn’t matter.  Rotating through different mediums helps a lot.  I’m a watercolor painter, I color line art with colored pencils, draw portraits, doodle, make jewelry, quilt, and a few other things that just happen to catch my interest.  I’m a master of none, nor do I have any desire to be.  My goal is to ENJOY what I do, not try and show off.  Who am I showing off to?  What am I trying to prove?  No one and nothing.  I have fun.

Do any of you play with more than one medium or do you feel an artist ought to focus on just one thing and master it?

*Small note: the featured image is A Clear Day and is available for purchase here.

Art Collaborations

Art collaborations are one of the most enjoyable activities I’ve participated in.  The first thing that comes to mind is my good friend BalthasarCraft.  We’ve been collaborating for years!  She’s a pendant and earring maker.  I can’t make pendants or earrings (believe me, I’ve tried) and thus turn to her for some help there.

She does have an Etsy shop, but lack of sales has been very discouraging.  She’s opted not to renew listings.  If it’s not too much trouble, swing by her shop and send her a message.  You can see all her work here, but start up a conversation with her on Etsy.  Currently she has a rather large collection of pendants that haven’t sold.  If you’re interested, after visiting her DeviantArt page and seeing her work below, talk about having pendants listed for immediate purchase.  You’ll be delighted by the result!  Don’t be shy about mentioning me.  She’ll get a good kick out of that.

Here are the results of our collaborations!

Many of these are available for purchase in my Etsy shop as well.  With the holidays just around the corner now is a very good time to get the gift shopping out of the way.

Sunset Romance

This piece is made with a pendant of BalthasarCraft’s creation and the necklace is made by me.  She sends me pendants she’d like to have made into pieces for herself, and I in turn make the jewelry.  As payment she gives me random pendants.  It’s an excellent trade that’s been going on for several years now!

Dark Desires

Chokers, necklace, chunky, lightweight, loose, firm, I use the pendant to help direct what will be made.  So far I’ve never failed in my attempts to create excellent jewelry.

It’s always helpful to see the jewelry worn in order to really appreciate the work.  Here she is modeling the pieces I made for her.

Fearless Peacock

Sometimes I keep things for myself.  It’s not often I keep the things I make, but when I do I make certain it’ll be something I love.  I’ve had this piece for several years now, and more often than not I’m asked about where I bought the necklace and who made the pendant.

Collaborations are wonderful when the artists play well together.  You don’t need to be in the same room to create amazing things.  BalthasarCraft and I lived over 2000 miles apart when we started working together.  Now we live a few hundred miles away from one another, and have yet to work in the same room.  Communication is very important, and we have Skype now.  It helps a great deal, especially when she wants to see a work in progress (WIP).

Do any of you work with other artists?  Have you done a collaboration or are contemplating it?  If you’re afraid about asking the other artist(s) just do it.  The worse that can happen is they say no.  I’ve received that answer many times over the past 25 years I’ve been making jewelry.  It’s worth asking because somewhere in that pile of “no”s is a yes.

Today I shipped off some rather hideous and boring pendants I’ve collected, as well as gemstones, to BalthasarCraft to work her magic on.  I’ve also sent a choker she was really digging on my Etsy shop, and I’ll be making at least two chokers and one necklace.  In exchange she’ll be making custom pendants for me using the materials I’ve sent her.  An adventure to be had!



Rest and Recovery

So many artists and crafters forget the world around them when they work.  I’m very guilty of this.  In the past I’ve forgotten to eat, sleep, and to give myself time to rest.  This became a serious problem before I tore the ligament in my wrist.  I would cease my work when my husband came out of the bedroom at 4am and tell me to stop and go to bed.  I fell ill because I would forge to eat.

For three years I couldn’t make jewelry, draw, write, and typing was extremely painful.  I could quilt, but only when wearing a brace.  Our previous home had no air conditioning, and in the winter my sewing room would get so cold I could see my breath.  Those conditions of extreme heat and cold were what limited how much I worked.  Oh, yes, and the pain.

After surgery in 2016 it took months for me to regain full use of my wrist.  Only in the past two months have I started making jewelry again.  It’s wonderful!  I do, however, still have pain my wrist and likely always will.  It only shows up if I overwork it though.  That means frequent breaks throughout the day, as well as taking a three day no-creating period every week.  Work for three days, rest for three days.  I also cease my work at 7pm to allow time for dinner, take my medications, and then prepare for sleep.  I’m usually a sleep before 10pm due to the side effects of my seizure medication.

It’s been wonderful working like a person instead of getting so lost I require my husband to pull me up into reality again.

To my fellow artists, writers, and crafters: set up an alarm system on your phone that will tell you when to stop.  In fact, set up SEVERAL alarms.  Stop at least every four to six hours to eat and take care of yourself.  I know many you are night-owls, but do remember to sleep.  Ironically enough I’m not a night person at all.  I do my best work from 8am to 4pm, and am usually up by 6:30am.  My cats are an excellent alarm clock.  The morning “feed me” combined with a full night’s sleep is a good mix.  It’d be nice to sleep in to 8am sometimes, but alas I’m not tired enough to go back to sleep.

When is your best time to work?  Do you take breaks?  How often do you give yourself time to rest and recover?

P.S. The kitty in the picture is my alarm clock.  Her name is Cacoa (Kay-Koh) and I love her to bits.


House Fire Update

I meant to give y’all an update about this awhile ago, but I’ve been way too stressed out to make any posts regarding it.

We lost more than we thought we did to the fire.  All our food was destroyed, as was our ionizer, tower fan, several kitchen appliances, and various other things.  We spent over $400 replacing all our food and a few appliances.  Some of our furniture was damaged in the move but the movers made the repairs because they caused the damage.  My bicycle’s seat was melted off, the basket destroyed, and the handles are damaged.  Several of my coffee/tea mugs were crushed and broken in the fire.

The housing agency hasn’t sent our adjuster their invoice…and it’s been over a month.  The movers/cleaners sent their yesterday.  Our adjuster rarely answers my calls and never calls me back when I leave a message.  He hasn’t responded to emails either.  I understand he’s incredibly busy right now, but we’re losing our patience and completely broke.

We’ve maxed out the credit card, owe my parents money for helping us, we have bills that need to be paid, etc.  We really need that money.  ASAP.  I hope it’s enough to pay off the credit card.  After we get our money we’re going to the insurance company’s local office and having our policy moved to our new home and increasing the coverage as well.  We’re in fire country and really don’t want to deal with a total loss and not enough money to cover it all.

Needless to say we’re incredibly stressed out and it’s wearing us down.

August 6th I had the worst seizure in over a decade.  It was a tonic-clonic, lasted over a minute, and I wasn’t breathing when it was over.  My husband said my face turned blue and then purple.  Thankfully he has CPR and First Aid training.  He saved my life.  It took almost a month to recover from it.  That very day I had seen the neurologist and had my medication dosage raised 50mg.  I took the medicine right after recovering enough to swallow my pills.  I had been in survival mode since the fire, and on August 6th we finally got into our new home.  My brain deemed it safe to finally let loose and threw me into a seizure.  I have a very low seizure threshold; it doesn’t take much to set them off.  Our current situation is making it very likely I’ll have another seizure, though hopefully not as severe.  BTW epilepsy is deadly if untreated.  People die because of their seizures.

We’re unable to do our laundry (Thursday is laundry day) because we have no money to spare.  We go to a laundromat because we don’t have a washer or dryer.  My husband is going to work in dirty work clothes.  Thankfully he works in a kitchen, and the smell from his clothes goes largely unnoticed.  He feels very disgusting though, and when he comes home the smell is unbelievable.

I have new items available in my Etsy shop, and I ship worldwide.  Please consider making a purchase.  We need every dollar we can get.