Wednesday, September 25, 2013

losing my center

Do you ever get the feeling that you're on a gigantic rollercoaster ride in your filled with activity and to-do lists a mile long and NOISE???  Everything is going so fast, and has to be done "yesterday" - that you get to a point where you feel like you can't breathe??
That's how I've been feeling lately - but I was too busy and moving too fast to realize just what the problem was - until yesterday!  haha   I've been working from sun up to sun down -- never getting everything done what I wanted to get done that day -- haven't "had time" to exercise (that was my excuse anyway...I'll do it after this or after that...which never came) -- haven't been eating right (just grabbing whatever I can, when I'm absolutely STARVING, because I forgot to eat all day) -- not being able to sleep at night because I can't shut my brain off (it's still going at hyper-daytime speed!), so I'm perpetually tired...
until I couldn't take it anymore!  I literally yelled -- "Let me off this ride!!!"
I just stopped everything I was doing... turned everything my running shoes on and said to Dan - "I'm going for a walk!  Wanna come??"  And OH did it feel good!  I could BREATHE - I could smell the crisp air, watch the geese making their way South for the winter, see the leaves starting to turn on the trees (Holy cow - when did that start happening - I think I missed the whole summer!).... and have a nice discussion with my husband about how "OFF" I felt!  (He's a good sounding board!)
I'm a big meditation, self-seeker, "live in the moment" type girl -- and I had LOST it!  Lost my center - my balance - my peace.  I couldn't shut my mind off during meditations. When the 15 - 20 minutes were over, I felt like I hadn't done it at all!  All the things I had to do - or ideas for new products - or design & website ideas - or worrying about my sick mom or a million other things... would be popping into my head... I couldn't clear my mind and concentrate on my breathing for even 15 minutes!
Building a new business, selling an old one, passionate about painting again (in a whole new direction) - Mom in the hospital - Niece broke her arm (Poor Raven) - worrying about the futures of my kids - numerous people in my life getting sick and having life-threatening issues - house is a mess - orders to fill............ it was like a perfect storm.... everything happening at once!  But I think I realized it in time!   I can definitely see now, how people can have nervous breakdowns, without even realizing it, until it's on top of them!
That's what my new business, A Joyful Soul, is all about!  Live Happy, Be Joyful, Live in the Moment, Be Grateful... it's time to get back to practicing what I preach!  And that AWESOME walk was the start of it!  An hour and a half to ourselves - observing nature - talking - breathing deep... and drawing hearts on the sidewalk with a rock (like I used to do when we were kids)!
I'm gonna get back into my routines -- I need them!  Exercise, Eat Healthy, Drink my Water, Get some Sun (good old Vitamin D), Meditate, and take some time to relax and sit in the quiet and Be Grateful!  My Art & My Work is a fun, happy, passionate thing for me -- and I need to keep it that way!!  Quit stressing... Think Positive... Enjoy the Journey!  All the cliché's -- THEY'RE TRUE!!
  If you feel things closing in on you - that you're life is too busy - and you're not taking the time for yourself....please...STOP!  It's ok -- things won't fall apart if they don't get done right this second!  Find JOY in the things you do... if there is no JOY, then don't do it!  (Yeah I know - not much JOY in doing housework or whatever chore you have to do...but the JOY comes from being able to sit and relax in a clean house, from the end result!  :)  Simplify your days so you can take that much needed time for yourself - get your exercise in - make healthy meals for your family - get some sleep!  I promise you'll feel so much better!  I absolutely do!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

lazy Sundays and Pinterest

How peaceful and serene is this sitting room?  I just want to transport myself there right now!
Although Sundays are still working days for me -- I do try to spend a little time each Sunday afternoon, browsing on my guilty pleasure - Pinterest!  You can follow me HERE if you'd like!  It's my relaxation, my dream state, my meditation for the day!  :)
I get my color inspiration here... the gorgeous pictures calm me, inspire me, and entice me!  It's the WORLD at my fingertips!  Gorgeous places I've never been (but would love to go), delicious-looking foods I'd like to try, beautiful art studios I'd LOVE to work in, easy tutorials on everything I'd always wanted to learn... it's all reading a good book!
A FEAST for the eyes and the brain!  haha   I can lose myself for hours - down the rabbit-hole - and I LOVE every minute of it!  It takes my mind off the million things I have to do and relaxes my soul!  Thank you Pinterest!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

an ending and new beginnings ~

Well.... I was going to post some more links to FREEBIE's a few days ago....but lots of things just happened really quickly!  My life was FULL.... TOO full... FULL to overflowing -- and I was being overwhelmed by my own desire to do a million things at once!  I guess that's the way of my overachiever brain...I've always been that way...and it's the way I've always been the most happy!  I don't like being bored.  I'm a multi-tasker to the extreme!  I like waking up excited to see what I'm going to create that day - eager to see how things on my table turn out, that I just want to jump up and get going!
Hand-soldered art charms with inspirational messages by A Joyful
Many of you know that I've been in the middle of rebranding my business for the last year or so.  I still loved doing pattern designing, magazines, licensing, etc.... but I was getting bored... everything started looking the same to me... my tastes changed... my aesthetic changed... I wanted to PLAY!  I didn't want to write down directions for everything that I created - I didn't want to only use easy processes that I could explain in a few line instructions.  So I didn't!!  I started playing with my paints... not planning anything out... not having a commission to do....not having a deadline... and I LOVED IT!!  That's what I needed to refresh myself, my business, and take myself into the next 20 years of my life!  :)
During my "play time" - I was still doing all my pattern and design work - trying to keep all the balls in the air on one side, while thinking and dreaming about the new direction and trying to get that started on the other side!  That was enough balls in the air....and I was keeping up...satisfying both my customers and me.  But then I started dreaming BIGGER!!  Uncontrollable dreaming - while I was sleeping - about a BIGGER purpose... a BIGGER direction.  The dreaming kept going and expanding -- so much so -- that most of my days were spent in the planning and manifesting of my  new vision.  I was swept away with a new passion, a new drive and a new business - A Joyful Soul!
A business where I could do my art...happy art...joyful art.  To only do that which makes me happy and peaceful.  And maybe I could invite some friends who make happy art - to license with me - and together we could spread joy and happiness all over the world.... while living a happy life ourselves!  I wanted everyone to see a little piece of art, a little joyful message - on art, on apparel, on cards, on jewelry, on car stickers, on tattoos.... everywhere people look... I want to spread an uplifting message that maybe gets them to smile - maybe gets them to see the wondrous beauty that life is - maybe gets them to realize what is really important.... and to just BREATHE and LOVE and be HAPPY!
Uh - I could just go on and on and on about my vision - but that's what PASSION does for you!  haha.  Some may say I'm sounding a little "hippie dippy" -- yeah well...maybe I am!  But I believe in it... I believe in the power to help people with just a little phrase, a little joyful color, a little kindness!  I DO!
That's what happened to my time and attention too -- it got swallowed up in the passion of my new business and production -- (oh and ANOTHER new endeavor I dreamed up the other day - "Art At The Beach" - where I'll be teaching and sharing art with kids and adults on the beaches of San Diego this winter - more on that another time *wink*)  that I felt like my brain was going to implode!  YES -- I finally reached that multi-tasker breaking point!  haha    "Hi - my name is Sue Allemand - and I admit that I can't do it ALL!"  haha.  And I wasn't doing justice to the pattern business.  People were asking for new designs... magazines were asking for new projects... licensing was asking for new artwork that fit in the categories they needed to fit the trends.... but I felt NO desire to do any of it!  Don't you feel that way too? -- that if it's not something you want to do or are excited to do -- it's a struggle, it takes forever to do, and it sucks all the joy out of the thing you were suppose to LOVE to do!
So, although I loved designing for the craft industry and helping people make items that would sell at shows and online, so they could help support their families - it was time to move on - time to devote 100% of my energies to A Joyful Soul and what may come next!  Time to pass the pattern business on to someone who's passion it is to take my patterns, add them to their design business, and build something bigger for the future!   And I'm so happy I found someone -- and REALLY QUICKLY!!  haha    This is how quick - It came to my mind - to sell the pattern business (Palette Primitives) - I put together a sheet on what it would entail and include - and put it out into the universe.... well...Facebook (that's kinda the same right?) - haha!  And within a few days - I had the perfect buyer!  She's AWESOME!  And we'll be announcing her in a couple weeks! 
In the meantime, I want to THANK all my customers, vendors, editors, publishers, manufacturers, and shop owners for your support and inspiration over the last 20 years!  I hope to continue to do business with you in the future - and spread a little more JOY around the world!  Here's to what's NEXT!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

my Fall FREEBIE pattern round-up

Since Fall is here - and I've been changing blogs, websites, etc.  I thought I'd do a roundup of all my FREE Fall patterns available for you to download!!  There's a BUNCH!!  So I might do this in 2 posts!  :)  Here we start....
FREE Crow and Pumpkin Framed Woolfelt Appliques Pattern
FALL FRAMED APPLIQUES - woolfelt & linen - Click here to download:
FREE Americana Pumpkin Stitchery pattern
FREE Autumn Leaves Table Runner Pattern, stitchery, applique, quilting
AUTUMN LEAVES TABLE RUNNER -  Learn some stitchery, applique and quilting!
Click here to download:
FALL FOLKART BUCKETS - Painting pattern!
Click here to download:
Okie dokie -- you can get started on these and I'll be back tomorrow with more links!  :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

testing DecoArt Ultra Frost

Wow it was a gorgeous day today!!  No humidity!  Great temperature!  Lots of sun!!  Mmmm - the air smells so good!  I hope it's great where you are!
I set out the day working in the studio - and wanted to test out etching some glass gems - to see if they would look like sea glass when they were done!  Sea glass you find at the shore is so irregular on the sides and I wanted to be able to solder some into a jewelry piece - so I set out to find my etching cream!  After an hour of hunting through my drawers and shelves - the heck of I could find it!
So - I remembered I had gotten some DecoArt Ultra Frost paint in one of my shipments from DecoArt and it was sitting right there on the shelf - begging to be tried!
I can't seem to find the White Ultra Frost on their website anymore -- I think they changed it out for the Frost Gloss Enamels which sounds like the same formula and I'm sure would work the same!  They also have a Frost WRITER that you could draw or write with - and that area would look like frost!  So cool -- I'll have to try some Christmas projects with that!
Anyway - I used the Ultra Frost I had - applied one coat to each of the gems with a clean brush - and let it dry on the paper towel.  These are my results:
I LOVE how they turned out!  They really do look like sea glass!!  A couple TIPS:  Make sure you only apply to one side - let it dry - then you can do the back if you wish.  If you try to do it all at once - it will stick to whatever it's drying on (paper towel, wax paper, etc.)  Second - I just dabbed the paint on with a brush - but you could also use a makeup sponge!
On the oval ones in the first picture - I just painted the frost on the backs for right now - I wanted the color of the glass to really show and that helped it not be so transparent...but I couldn't really get a good picture of it - so I didn't post it.
So - give it a try!  It's so easy and you don't even need gloves like you do with etching cream!  Oh and for those of you wanting to use this on glasses - you just let it dry 7 days and you'll be able to lightly wash over the frost with mild soap!  You can bake them in the oven for added durability.  Please read the instructions on the bottle!
Just thought you'd like to know....

Monday, September 2, 2013

country to coastal - cabinet re-do tutorial

home decor, decorative painting tutorial, furniture makeover, vintage look, Sue Allemand Art
This cabinet was made by a friend of mine - using a Wooden Nail Chimney Cupboard pattern - many years ago!  And at the time - I was really into the primitive, country look - in art and in decorating.  But I've moved on -- and now I'm TOTALLY head-over-heels into what I call Coastal Vintage!  Might have something to do with moving to San Diego   - ya think??  The funny thing is -- this is in my house in Wisconsin!!  haha
Anyway - this was the last vestige of country primitive in my house - and it was time to transform it into the new, awesome, coastal piece that I envisioned in my head!  So here you go... step by step... how to transform ANY furniture find into a weathered, vintage look, beauty!  (NOTE:  Just click on the pics to open a larger image!)
decorative painting, mixed media, home decor, how-to, furniture tutorial, Sue Allemand
 Step 1:  Get out your AWESOME DecoArt Patio Paints - I used Coastal Surf and Desert Turquoise.  (If your furniture is bare wood - or you'd like a darker basecoat than what's on it - paint it the color you like first.  Mine was already deep red and tan - so I went with those - I want them to show through when I sand the piece.)
Step 2:  Randomly paint your 2 colors all over the piece.  Just slip slap it on - all over - leaving some of the basecoat showing.  Let dry.
Step 3:  Get out a jar of Petroleum Jelly!!  This is your secret weapon!!
Step 4:  Rub the petroleum jelly onto your piece wherever you want your undercoat colors to show through!  The petroleum jelly stop the topcoat from sticking - and will make it easier to sand off those sections!  Rub it wherever you think "wear" would be on your piece - edges, molding highspots, etc.  You can even apply a little to the middle sections of the sides or where boards connect!
Step 5:  Scrunch up a white or clear plastic bag in your hand.  Dip into white paint (I used regular wall paint I had used in the kitchen) - and smush (that's a technical term - hehe) and dab the paint onto the cupboard until the entire thing is covered.  Yes - you are going OVER the petroleum jelly sections too.  If you're paint is a little thick - you can add a little water to make it more moveable. (Note:  I painted over the hinges too, cuz I wanted them to blend in with the cabinet instead of standing-out.)  TIP:  You might want to use a glove for this - or your nails will get full of dried paint!  :)
Let it dry completely.  Be patient.... go to the beach, relax, have a cocktail...
Did you touch it -- does it feel cold??  If it feels cold - it's not completely dry yet.
The reason you want it completely dry is the sanding part is next - and you don't want it coming off in chunks or to peel!
OK - You've waited long enough - let's keep going....
Now - I didn't get a picture of this - but... 
Step 6:  Get a paper towel, or a piece of old nubby rag and rub all over the cabinet!!  This will take off the paint in any of the sections you covered in petroleum jelly!  Honest - it'll just rub right off!  How cool is that??
This is what it looks like after the rubdown!!  :)
Step 7:  Get out your palm sander - if you have one - otherwise you can just use some medium grit sandpaper and some elbow grease!  :)  Sand the edges of the cabinet, the door, the molding, the closure thingy (Idk what that thing is called - hehe), and randomly around the centers of the sides, and the front.  The door of mine is made of 3 boards - so I sanded the edges where the boards come together.
Step 8:  Create depth & texture.  Tools - bubble wrap and DecoArt Americana Paint - Asphaltum (or any dark brown color).  Pour out some paint onto a paint palette or waxed paper and dip the bubble wrap in it to lightly coat.  Press the bubble wrap all over the cabinet in small, random sections. 
Step 9:  More texture.  Tools - old credit card or one of those fake cards you get in the mail and some more DecoArt -Coastal Surf Patio Paint.  Squeeze paint onto palette in a straight line.  Dip and drag the card into the paint. Then lightly drag the card over random sections of the cabinet! 
Step 10:  Even MORE texture.  Using the same credit card and the DecoArt Desert Turquoise paint - dip the card edge into the paint, then tap the edge in vertical and horizontal directions randomly over the cabinet.  You can also do a few of the "dip and drag" (like Step 9) if you see you have bare sections on the cabinet - step back and take a look at all sides to make sure you have an equal coating all over the front and sides.
Step 11:  Finishing with the white coat cover-up.  Tools:  A bristly brush (any size is fine) and the same white paint you used for the intial white coat.  Dip bristle brush into paint and lightly (so that you see the brush bristles) over all of the "texturized" sections to knock down the color a little!  Do this over the entire cabinet, staying away from the sanded edges if you can.  Let dry completely.  TIP:  Keep a baby wipe handy to wipe off any sections you don't like - or that you get on a sanded section!
Step 12:  You can seal your finished piece if you wish!  I used Minwax Clear Paste Wax on mine!  This protects and seals the paint and the wood without giving a "shine" to it!  I LOVE paste wax.  Just use a soft cloth - rub it on all over your piece - then get a clean cloth and buff it til there's just a thin, light layer all over!
I just LOVE LOVE LOVE how this cabinet turned out!!  It's definitely one piece that I can't wait to see in our new place in San Diego - when we get to finally move there for good!!!  :)  I told Dan I think the ocean view will definitely bring out the blues in the piece!  :)  A girl can dream for an ocean view right??