My Beautiful Mother!

My Beautiful Mother!
My Beautiful 82 yr old Mother @ 50th Wedding Anniversary Party wearing dress I designed and painted♥

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ari's View of Healthy Eating!

If you have read my post on When a Hummingbird ......then you know about my niece Ari.  Well, my days haven't been to good since my Mother broke both large bones in her wrist and some tiny ones above the line on your wrist.  To make matters worse the Emergency Doctor set it wrong and it is not only still displaced (their words) but the cast has the bone growing crooked and they can't do surgery because she is 84 yrs old and her bone has begun growing back.  Needless to say, she is in excruciating pain, screaming, crying even though she is on heavy medications such as Dilaudid (morphine), Naprosyn, and Vicodin.  So, I needed this story to put a little humor back in my life!

My sister who has taken care of Ari since she was two years old, has physical problems like fibromyalgia, etc., that interfere with her sleep, but she always manages to get up to feed Ari.  Ari, who like I previously explained in my other post, is mentally only 4 yrs old max even though she is actually 14(forgot, 15 now).  Well, this Summer morning, about a month ago, my sister had a particularly bad night and didn't hear Ari get up.  Now, Ari is a large girl and is hungry!  So, what does she do?  Well, my sister has allowed Ari in her presence to make some simple food dishes like cereal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.   Ari likes to think she is a "big girl" and feels very good about herself when she makes her own food.  However, she makes such a mess that my sister would rather do it herself but for the sake of Ari's self esteem, she allows her to make her own sandwich or cereal at times under her watchful eye!  But, this morning was different.....why?  Because she had over-slept and Ari is not asking for food.  So she asks, "Ari, are you hungry?"  To which, Ari replied "no Mammaw, I already ate"!  Looking around at the clean kitchen area, my sister says, what did you eat Ari?  Very proudly she said, "Mammaw, I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with...... some GARLIC SALT...., then quickly added very proudly, "it taste good Mammaw!"  As a family we all love garlic and garlic salt and she has seen it used many times in cooking.  So Ari thought she was making a healthy sandwich!

Since my sister, as well as no one in our family, is willing to try Ari's recipe(LoL) we will just have to take her word for it!  But, if you want to eat a nutritional food but maybe don't like garlic or garlic salt....give Ari's recipe a try....if you're brave enough!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Humble Painting Beginnings!

I always loved drawing and had inherited the ability to draw from my mother. Not having much money when growing up, my mother would improvise by drawing and then coloring paper dolls with crayons. She added fake "diamonds" on the clothes and my love for sparkly things grew from her drawings. I started actually painting in 1999, when I found a ceramic girl about
12 inches tall in a ball gown. She was already painted and had a crack at her neck with a poor attempt at gluing. I took her home and spent hours covering up the painting with white paint and sanding down the raised area of the repair. Being a perfectionist, it turned out to be a daunting task. Then I bought some acrylic paints and re-painted it. At that time, I didn't know anything about ceramic shops which had green ware and bisque(fired green ware or clay) for sale. Afterwards, I just happened to be walking by a shop and saw a display in the window. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! So, I bought several pieces of green ware and learned how to clean and fire them bringing them to a bisque state. I saw an advertisement in the shop for classes on air brushing ceramic pieces, and I took several classes. During that year, I also painted some bisque pieces drawing on my childhood memories of my mother's artwork and developing my own technique and style of painting using glitter and rhinestones to add bling...which I love!

My eyes have always been the focal point of my paintings and draws the most attention as shown in my favorite piece which I sold prior to Etsy and my sister still has a fit over, since she wanted to keep it in the family! It is a sore topic with her and she says..."I don't know how you could have given that up! It was a very difficult piece because I had to get in between the two faces to try to paint the eyes. I never painted another one but I still love them today. I have enclosed a picture of the two little lovers (see below). Last month I painted this large mirror for my sister and I wrote about a funny experience which happened with my niece in my blog which includes a picture of my inspiration my still beautiful 84 yr old mother:

Follow the link below to see a picture of the finished mirror.
My goal is to fill my shop with 100 hand-painted items and I am still pushing the envelope in trying to come up with different painting techniques mainly in my glassware while searching out different ways of promoting my Etsy shop at:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

When a Hummingbird isn't a Hummingbird!

I have to share this recent painting experience.  About two months ago, my sister needed to cover a large area of her mobile home's wall.  It had been wall papered and now from rocking a glider back and forth and hitting against the wall, it had removed some of the wallpaper.  So, not having much money, she went looking for something to cover it since she was having special guests visiting in a week.  Well, she found a large ornate mirror that had belonged to an old dresser at Goodwills and asked me if I could paint something on it.  It was very time consuming and I finished around 12:00 p.m. the night before her guests were to arrive in the morning.  As soon as I finished, I woke my husband up to deliver and help hang it for her since it was so heavy.  It looked beautiful I must say.  So, I left feeling pretty smug about what I had accomplished.

The reason for the feeling of smug satisfaction was because it was a very difficult job since it was about 5 ft wide and about 5 ft tall and I had to paint stooped over, as it stood on the floor, also, my free-hand design was painted at the top coming down the sides.  As a painter, it is always easier to be able to turn the object you're painting, to get the slant of your hand and brush in a comfortable position.  But in this case, I felt like I was painting upside down at times, since it couldn't be moved.  And, I was working on a crunch-time deadline.

I had brushed mixed all kinds of complimenting colors for the fuchsias and ribbons.  Then, I decided to add a hummingbird but I wanted to kind of make a real looking one since they had so many around their house and loved them, which I did also.  I finally found a picture of one that I liked in a real old bird book I had just purchased from another Etsy seller.  But, it had wings pointing upward on the same side, like you were viewing it from the side as it flew.  So I decided to turn the hummingbird around so you could see under his tummy and his wings were out to each side.  A full under-belly look made him appear to have a chubby looking stomach and short tail.  He was sooooo cute and a hit with everyone in the house, including my sister and nephew......except one, who became my harshest critic!

So, thinking I had done a great job, I could hardly wait for the next day, to check and see how everything went with her guests and of course, did they say anything about my painting.  Then, she told me this story of what happened after I finished hanging the mirror and went home.

My sister has been the guardian of a mentally challenged granddaughter for 12 yrs.  No need to go into why.  Suffice is it to say, she has sacrificed much in raising this sweet, funny and brutally honest child that she loves dearly.  I say child because even though she is now 14 years old, she has the mental capacity of a 3 1/2 to 4 year old.  So Ari(her nickname) keeps looking at the hummingbird curiously then tells her grandma "mammaw, that hummingbird is fat"!  Next, she proceeds to take my sister's hand and lead her out on the porch where she points to her plastic decorative hummingbird with a metal stick which can be poked into gardens or flower pots.  Plus, her hummingbird has both wings going upward in the same direction, creating a sideways look and thinner stomach.  Then, she says..... "now that's a hummingbird... not Auntie's!  See his wings are up"  My sister then tells her "well, Ari, Auntie's hummingbird is a hummingbird too..... it's a chubby baby hummingbird!  Ari, who loves baby anything, then said "oh, how cute, it's chubby just like Auntie!"

P.S. for my viewers,  here are the pictures that was mentioned in The Artist of the Week Blog featuring me and my shop.  They are not as clear as I would like and I will be replacing them next week with hopefully clearer ones.  My sister took these with a flash and facing the light.  So, I am hoping my camera will take better pics........Lona

Friday, May 20, 2011

Now the Fear Sets In!

Still considered a "Newbie" at selling in the Etsy forum, I thought it would be the cure all for my financial struggles.  However, in a short period of time, I have seen that this is not as easy as I thought!  As an Artist, I said to myself, "Lona, you have found a way to do what you love...create and paint and get your items sold" in my Etsy shop, AlwaysSnazzyTs.  Well, future sellers, be prepared!

There is no easy way!  First, you feverishly paint items as in my case, that you can list in your inventory, because you don't want your shop to look bare.  After all, who wants to visit a regular store and find their shelves empty or sparse?  Then, you take pictures which hopefully show your items in the best position, or light, which isn't as easy as it sounds.  Next, comes the listing where you rack your brain for the right description, price and tags, which are special words that describe all the best points about your item.  For instance, is it hand painted, hand crafted, the colors, what is painted on it, like roses, birds etc, OOAK translated one-of-a-kind, and what kind of an occasion would it make a nice gift for..... to name a few?   

Ahhh, got several listed, looks kind of pretty with all the variety and colors.  Now I can sit back and enjoy the sales that are sure to be rolling in; after all, are not my items unique and pretty and reasonably priced?  Surely, the public will recognize that or at least value the fact that it's hand painted.  Ooooh Yeah....I'm going to make lots of money!  Now, I can re-coup some of the money I have spent on supplies not to mention my time, which ....oh well, let's not go there!

But, wait...., one day goes by and nothing, then another, now it's week one, week two and so on, and you run to your shop all day long and check.  You can't believe your eyes when you see sales.  You refresh it in hopes the numbers are not up to date.  Well, I do have several hearts from other sellers which favored one or more of my listed items, (which of course, as an Artist you value), but where are the sales?  Finally, you look and one day, you have a sale!  Yippee, hooray, I sold something!!!!  It doesn't really matter what at the moment, just that someone bought something from me.  They liked it well enough to pay money!  Now, I feel good.  So, I gather up all the buyers information, collect the payment and ship it out as fast as I can and as safe as possible.  After all, I want and need the buyer to leave a positive feedback on the item.  Is the anxiety over now?  Nope... sorry to say, it continues.  Did it get there in a timely manner, did it break, will they think the pictures look enough like the actual item, (hopefully they will look better), will they want to buy from me again, and lastly, will they leave me a nice feedback?  A few days go by while you savor the euphoric feeling and then it's gone.   You hunger, rather you crave for more, but alas, the waiting starts all over again.  But now it's worse because there's no more sales or very few, now the panic sets in for real!

Come on now Lona, you can figure this out!  So what do I do?  I check out other sellers and many are selling allot!  Ouch!  There goes my self-esteem.  What's wrong with my items?  Are they not what the public wants, should I change my style of painting, or paint more glassware, fabric or maybe go back to ceramics?  Don't really know, since I thought these were hand-painted treasures and compliments aside, they're not selling!  So, I peruse all the forums, posts, treasuries that my time allows, since I am also taking care of 84 yr old parents with serious health problems, because I need to find answers, get with the program!

Now, I consider myself a fairly smart woman and after reviewing many discussions on Etsy on how to become a successful seller, I now have determined that all indicators of being successful appears to be in the promoting, tweeting, blogging or chatting with other sellers so you or your shop becomes more familiar and known.  But indecision and fear sets in because if you join a team, most of them have requirements that include tweeting, blogging, a monthly treasury (which is a collection of items from other team members you arrange in a hopefully pleasant sequence) because other sellers leave comments or what is known as posts about the arrangement, beauty etc.  Usually some form of promoting is required by a team.  But, wait...I want to promote my items so I can sell some things.  Why must I primarily think of what is in the best interest of the team by promoting their items while my shop is dying on the vine?  Also, I have run across several very successful sellers who are not on any team and/or they don't tweet, blog, access other Internet resources or belong to a circle, a group of sellers you like.  So, what to do?  As I sink deeper into a funk, my self-esteem and confidence or rather what little is left of it, is going fast!  But, I love to paint!  I got to hang on, it's got to get better...doesn't it?

Oh, how I wish I wasn't such a novice, a newbie to selling, promoting and everything involved in becoming a successful shop on Etsy.  Do I continue jumping around from forums, treasuries, twitter, or blogging like frog legs in a frying pan?  And what about spending more money in what is called a BNR which stands for "Buy and Replace" which works on the premise that if you buy another seller's item, then it will be replaced with one of yours?  I already have bought into several with only one item of mine selling.  And only when a very nice seller took pity on what amounted to my pleading in the comment section(posts) for someone to buy from me since I was the last seller standing that hadn't sold anything.  So, I gave up on BNR's at least for now, because I noticed that only the sellers whose items were priced very low or had extremely low shipping charges, were usually the ones who got most of the sales.  Don't get me wrong, I am very happy for them and many are my team members and Etsy friends.  It's just, when is it my turn I wonder?

The Solution for me and maybe all you "newbies" out there feeling the same way?  You just keep on keeping on, hope the economy changes, add more inventory so as not to have an empty looking shop, and pray that fashion or public buying preferences will change in your favor.  And not to be overlooked, make some friends like I have that care, support and want the best for me.  They will become a beacon of light as you struggle to get out of what seems like an all encapsulating dark tunnel.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Wish...More Time and Balance!

I can remember when I was young I felt like I had all the time in the world.   But, what is difficult to learn is how to balance that time.  If goals are not set when you are young, they don't get any easier as we grow older.  Without time constraints or limits, we may never really learn the value of time.  As parents we try to instill this appreciation and we strive to give our children balance, i.e. curfews, chores, homework and family time.  Does it work?  Sometimes but often not!  Raised during my teen years mainly by my mother, she tried.  She was firm and a disciplinarian as many parents were at that time.  But we balked at the constraints.

Now, that I can look back and realize what she was trying to do, I wish I could turn back the clock.  I wish I had the time... especially since my mom and stepfather is 84 yrs old and in bad health.  Where does the time go?  Mom, I'm listening now!  Tell me again what time I have to be home, don't be in a car alone with a boyfriend, watch what I drink at parties because they can slip something in it, don't ride with strangers.  Sound familiar?

As I struggle with trying to balance my family responsibilities, painting and promoting my hand-painted products at my Etsy shop, teaching the Bible to female inmates who hopefully can put some balance back in their lives, I value time and balance even more as each day passes.

Moral of the story......utilize the time you have wisely because too soon it's gone.  And set attainable goals to give you balance so that you don't end up like me, always fighting perfectionism and struggling for balance.

My Wish......My Mom who has recently had two severe strokes which blew out her peripheral vision, balance and gait, and my Stepfather who had two failed hip replacements and a six-way heart bypass....Had more TIME! 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Appreciate Your Patience!

This has been a ROUGH time for me since I am jumping in head first into a world I am not one bit familiar with.

I am a Senior Citizen who is trying to catch up to you youngins! Lol!  So as I learn the ins and outs of blogging, tweeting and selling, please continue to show patience as I will get better....I hope!  I would love to have all of you visit my shop on Etsy.   I will be adding new items at a faster rate, as soon as my prime responsibility of taking care of my ailing 84 yr old mother lessens. 

My shop at Etsy is AlwaysSnazzyTs.