2011, the year of FABULOUS

It has been a while since I have posted, life tends to scoop me up and carry me along with it most times. I jump off the carousel and run back to the beginning to start all over, picking up new things along the way that I may have passed by.

The year started out with the death of my external hard drive. I was using for it as a supplement for my main drive and, well, it led a good life having tolerated me for three years of hard, daily use. It is, on a bad note however, holding 168GB of my life hostage…writing, art, all my music, my client work, everything. So, I am learning to adapt.

This year is about renewal for me, a renewal of self and the things that drive me. About breaking old habits, forming new ones, and being thankful for the time in between. Instead of waiting for a better situation to come along, I am making one.

Working for my Self.

One of the decisions that I have made is that I am no longer accepting new clients*. I have had far too many of my own projects go undone, sitting in journals, waiting for me to pick them up and bring them to life. I can work on someone else’s projects, or I can invest that time into my self and my family and work toward getting paid. Family and self won out.

*I have some current clients that are fabulous, and will continue my work with them, but I am at a comfortable, manageable work load right now so I will not be taking on anything new.

Art for Cures

Art for Cures is resurrecting this month from the ashes after a three year pile up. Yup, three years. (Thankfully I am not alone, as I have run into others who have been breathing through straws under their own avalanches for longer than I have.) The guilt piles up as much as the work does, but I am finally out from under after sneaking time in between work, college, homeschooling, and daily life. I have a plethora of updates coming in the next week and will be posting a few things to both our Etsy and my eBay account.

Art for Cures is also, God willing, going to become a non-profit this year. We are going through the planning preparations now and I will have more updates on the AFC site in the coming weeks.

More thank yous than I can count to the friends and members I have been blessed with who have stuck by me, I could not be doing any of it without you guys. MWAH Your support and love have been the one thing that has kept me moving forward.

Pen in Hand

My writing, other than running Word Whimsy, has been on the back-burner so long my characters have all started pelting me with rocks and small, sharp, projectile implements. Odonatia, Coffee Cartel, Making Art from Non_Cents, and Clementine’s Garden are all on the goal list for this year though I am planning on doing the “book happy dance” with my friend Pam Carriker with at least one caffeinated book soon. Congratulations Pam! HUGS You can pick up her new book on Etsy or on Amazon.

Full sailing ahead.

One of the biggest dilemmas for me recently has been which school to pursue once I have graduated in March. I am graduating with my BFA in Visual Communications, Digital Design (basically the degree for what I have been doing for 24 years) and have already started the enrollment process with Full Sail in Winter Park, Florida.

I grew up around and loved the Winter Park area. It is commercially overrun now, like most places, a lot of the quaint independent shops that were unique to the area having had to make way for larger corporate shops they, sadly, couldn’t compete with. I still have a huge poster-sized menu from the old East India Ice Cream Company (any of you remember that place?) that we used to frequent. The park is still there, and my tree with its sitting branch best for train watching that my grandmother and I used to frequent, as well as a few old busking spots. The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival is what really drove me to become an artist full-time and, while I don’t attend the show anymore, or at least not near as frequently, it still holds fond memories. We have a similar show, FAFO, that we enjoy and attend every year here locally.

I will be starting my MFA in Creative Writing the first week of May then plan to move on to their Game Art program. The reason the decision was so difficult is because of accreditation, or lack thereof. I have my own goals and projects, though, and I look forward to having both degrees under my belt.

I also used to work for a rubber stamp store in Winter Park and there is nothing better than getting paid to play and create, well maybe…

Art grows on trees.

After a great deal of thinking, I have decided to postpone Gumtree’s launch until June of this year. We need the extra time to build stock as well as get all of our paperwork in order. I feel it was a necessary decision though as, with my external drive in possible permanent limbo, there is more that can be done so that our launch is as smooth and seamless as it can be. I know that when we do launch it will be an incredible experience and one I have been looking forward to for years.

Gallery exhibit July 2011, Winter Park Florida

All paths seem to lead to Winter Park lately! The Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project will be exhibiting at Full Sail’s gallery in July and I am proud to have one of my original journals in it. I am mailing it out on Friday and will be posting a video walk-through of it on my YouTube channel this weekend.

We don’t need no stickin’ genre.

Dragonfly Press Publishing, formerly a venue for zines and other small press publications, launched itself as a small, private publishing company last year with its first title, Freemasonry through the Jaundiced Eye of a West Virginia Hillbilly.

Ophir E. Vellenoweth, also the band leader for Buddy O & the Dancemasters has been a delight to work with and I am currently typesetting another book for him, a work of fiction entitled Tales of the Colstops. I am looking forward to presenting it to you soon. He is currently working on a sequel to Colstops and another book within the Freemasonry genre. Freemasonry through the Jaundiced Eye of a West Virginia Hillbilly is now available in digital download format or hardcover.

Dragonfly Press Publishing will be releasing at least one zine this year, possibly Kraft Paper Muse which has been reorganizing with support in the background.

Catch up, breathe deeply

After what seems like forever, I am finally getting caught up. Most of last year was spent with one or all of us bed or house ridden, one passing it on to the other as is the way of things in homes with children. There have been a lot of people disappointed in me, a lot of people who knew me and understood, and still more who have been supportive beyond the call of friendship. I think all of us have dealt with snowballs at least once in our lives and but this one created an avalanche. I’ve not given up though and things are getting better each day. I am moving forward.

LITTLE BITS OF WISDOM
A few of the many things I have picked up along the way, that I try to instill in my daughter, have been active in my life lately…

  • You should always be “straight up” with people. Be honest. Whether they will understand or not, your conscience is clear and you’ve done the right thing.
  • Pick your battles. Do what you can to the best of your ability and honor others as well as yourself. Help as much as you can but know when to say no.
  • If it is worthwhile dream, don’t give up.
  • When everything is a priority remember that family comes first. When it is hard to label what is the top priority in a pile of pressing deadlines, always pick the one that will give you the most trouble.
  • Breathe. There is always time to take a moment, close your eyes, and just breathe.

COMPLETELY ENTHRALLED

I own an HP laptop and frequently receives updates from HP including their Personal Again campaign that features some incredibly well-done and creatively inspiring videos. Recently I found Paulo Coehlo’s The Experimental Witch competition that led me, breadcrumbs in hand, to his Alchemist site on HP.

The guitar music that plays on the site has me completely in thrall. I am hooked on it, sometimes leaving the browser window up in the background to listen to it while I write or work. I don’t know that he will actually see it, but I sent him an email on his MySpace requesting the name of the piece or the guitarist and thanking him for his contributions to the creative community. Admittedly I do not own personal copies of his books yet but hope to soon. His stories are wonderfully rich and I look forward to reading more.

PUBLISHED RECENTLY

I have been so busy on this end that I’ve not had the chance to tell you all about some wonderful things that happened recently!

100 Days of Monsters. My family and I found Daily Monster, Stefan Bucher’s absolutely addictive video blog, and have been glued to it ever since. We crank the volume up so we can enjoy the sounds of his pens as they glide quickly across the paper. It is fascinating to watch what each seed of ink will become, even he doesn’t know till he does it which makes for a wonderful mystery. Stefan asked people to post little stories about his monsters, what we thought they were doing, who they were, and the madness began. Everyone got involved and the stories rolled in. Incredibly funny stories, emotional stories, off the wall weirdness, and all of them great fun to read. Well, he made a book with a DVD. All of his videos for the first 100 monsters and then some are included. And two of my stories made it into the book. So pick up a copy and read about “Reggie” and “Herman”, monsters 91 and 95. They will be very happy that you did. And if you do, please post a reply here and tell me what you think. I hope you like them both.

Thank you Stefan for your inspiration and your kindness!

Never Forgotten. I am a member of the ZNE network and was able to contribute to a book project for one of its members who recently lost her mother. I encourage everyone to take a look at the book and purchase one for yourself or for a loved one who may need some support or encouragement. I do not received any kind of compensation and am even purchasing my own copy so this is not a sales pitch. My piece is Essence & Longing and is included under the “Healing: The Beauty of the Soul” section in the book. If you do buy a copy, remember to post here and tell me what you think.

BACK IN SCHOOL

Started back to college week before last, totally online, and love it. Wish I could have done it sooner. They have the same accreditation as the local university but without worrying about scheduling, gas prices, or the wear and tear on my vehicle. Val has been in since August, he’s on the Dean’s list, (WOOT You go baby!) and I should be there soon as well. I am working on my BFA in Visual Communications with a specialization in Digital Design which, mostly, is the degree for what I have already been doing for the last 22 years. I have been wanting to finish school though, needed the piece of paper, and wanted to get all of the new software so here I am. I really enjoy the interface, the structure, the whole layout of AIU. And, yes, it takes a lot of discipline. But I will have my degree in 13 months, not four years, and there is something incredibly motivating about that. When I graduate in July of next year, if not sooner, I will be working on my Masters in Education there or finding a school where I can complete my Architectural Design degree. Yup, there is the secret to my handwriting, I was an Architectural Design major previously.

TED TALKS

“Who is this Ted person anyway…” you say? Don’t worry, I said that too. During my Visual Literacy class I was linked to a TED Talk by John Maeda. An incredibly brilliant, very funny man. Maeda spoke of simplicity, applying it to design and everyday life which is something I think we all need to look at. If you get a chance to watch the video, do, it is well worth the time. I have also found the TED Talks to be a fantastic resource. I think one of my favorites so far though has to be J.J.Abrams talking about the “mystery box” and writing.

A NEW SITE FOR ART FOR CURES

Art for Cures has been in need of a site for a while and, though I had started building one, my life and health conspired to keep me from it. After seeing a few site on the Ning network, seeing the resources available and the network’s framework, I decided to build us a home there. Art for Cures is now part of the Ning network and we already have several members there. Looking forward to posting the auctions in the next week and moving forward!

SCRIBBLES, DOODLES, AND SQUIBBLES

We like to hang out in the local bookstores on occasion (read we live there) and I am always on the lookout for new things fir Ysa and I to play with. Not seeing anything I could afford to get this week, or that we didn’t already have, I picked up another Kumon book for Ysa’s homeschool. Ysa and I rummaged around the children’s section a bit and a book accosted me on the way out. Well, it didn’t actually accost me per se, but I am very visual and certain things tend to jump out at me on shelves. In fact when I worked for the bookstores (both BAM and the Noble Barn), I was the one people always came to when they couldn’t remember the name of something. Nine time out of ten I would know it by what the spine or cover looked like and sometimes the “look” of the author’s name.

This time, as soon as I saw it, I knew it was coming home with us.

Scribbles by Taro Gomi is part of a three book series (might be a series, should be) and all three seriously ROCK. The books are almost two inches thick and full of half drawn doodles that you have to finish. It is total creative license, total interpretation, total fun.

…and yes, for those who recognized the name, Taro Gomi also wrote Everyone Poops. hehe

BEING ANACHRONISTIC AGAIN

I’ve rejoined the SCA after a long hiatus and have brought my family with me this time. Val is going Art/Sci, Logan is going heavy weapons, and even my girl is considering it as well since they start youth combat at age seven. She already makes a great shield wall, ran over the last guy. Val has been working on his own medieval chant notation, Logan is making chaine maille again and I have been pouring through patterns and buying fabric in preparation for garb making. It has been way too long since I have been camping so I am really looking forward to it.

Oh, I was also given the honor of being the Shire’s new Web Minister (or Mistress in this case).

My new tagline?

Ana Maria Seaton
ska Ginuivive Alysabaeth Rosewood (Dragonfly or Alysa)
Shire of Amurgorod, Kingdom of Trimaris
“The Dragonfly caught in the Spidered Web.”

Web site for the Shire coming very soon. VIVAT TRIMARIS!

SCRIPTFRENZY

ScriptFrenzy is this month, brought to you by the makers of NaNoWriMo. I toyed with the idea of working on a script I have had in my head for a while now but my time will not allow it. Also, anytime I even consider working on another writing project, my two novels – Moonlight & Shadow and Odonatia – beat me over the head and throw tantrums on the floor begging for attention. My children’s book, Clementine’s Garden, can get away with it though. They don’t beat her up because she is too cute.

WAIT, YOU SAID…ODONATIA!?

Yes I did, you heard me right. Odonatia is fast becoming a novel. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Odonatia is a fiction project I have been working on for about 10 years now. Started as a simple postal issuing authority for artistamps (faux postage), it quickly snowballed (read avalanched) into an epic piece of fiction with real passports, a winery and other goodies coming. Turning very steampunkish. Plans include a daily blog form the island, downloads and other goodies. Looking at a couple of other creative associates that might get involved as well in the future.

ON THE HUSH HUSH

Two major projects going on, one involving my rubber stamp line that is forthcoming, are building up speed and about to take off. Sadly though, and yes I know I am a tease, both are on the “hush hush” right now till I get the okay. I know, stop pouting, I’ll post here as soon as I get the green light. Needless to say both are of incredible proportion and I cannot wait to tell you all.

…well, that is all I can think of for now. (aren’t you glad? hehe) I will be posting scans, photos and a few updates today and over the next couple of days. This week has been a busy one so I have been trying to stay focused and push forward. Hoping this finds you all well and in good creative spirits!

Brightest blessings!

Catch up, breathe deeply

After what seems like forever, I am finally getting caught up. Most of last year was spent with one or all of us bed or house ridden, one passing it on to the other as is the way of things in homes with children. There have been a lot of people disappointed in me, a lot of people who knew me and understood, and still more who have been supportive beyond the call of friendship. I think all of us have dealt with snowballs at least once in our lives and but this one created an avalanche. I’ve not given up though and things are getting better each day. I am moving forward.

LITTLE BITS OF WISDOM
A few of the many things I have picked up along the way, that I try to instill in my daughter, have been active in my life lately…

  • You should always be “straight up” with people. Be honest. Whether they will understand or not, your conscience is clear and you’ve done the right thing.
  • Pick your battles. Do what you can to the best of your ability and honor others as well as yourself. Help as much as you can but know when to say no.
  • If it is worthwhile dream, don’t give up.
  • When everything is a priority remember that family comes first. When it is hard to label what is the top priority in a pile of pressing deadlines, always pick the one that will give you the most trouble.
  • Breathe. There is always time to take a moment, close your eyes, and just breathe.

COMPLETELY ENTHRALLED

I own an HP laptop and frequently receives updates from HP including their Personal Again campaign that features some incredibly well-done and creatively inspiring videos. Recently I found Paulo Coehlo’s The Experimental Witch competition that led me, breadcrumbs in hand, to his Alchemist site on HP.

The guitar music that plays on the site has me completely in thrall. I am hooked on it, sometimes leaving the browser window up in the background to listen to it while I write or work. I don’t know that he will actually see it, but I sent him an email on his MySpace requesting the name of the piece or the guitarist and thanking him for his contributions to the creative community. Admittedly I do not own personal copies of his books yet but hope to soon. His stories are wonderfully rich and I look forward to reading more.

PUBLISHED RECENTLY

I have been so busy on this end that I’ve not had the chance to tell you all about some wonderful things that happened recently!

100 Days of Monsters. My family and I found Daily Monster, Stefan Bucher’s absolutely addictive video blog, and have been glued to it ever since. We crank the volume up so we can enjoy the sounds of his pens as they glide quickly across the paper. It is fascinating to watch what each seed of ink will become, even he doesn’t know till he does it which makes for a wonderful mystery. Stefan asked people to post little stories about his monsters, what we thought they were doing, who they were, and the madness began. Everyone got involved and the stories rolled in. Incredibly funny stories, emotional stories, off the wall weirdness, and all of them great fun to read. Well, he made a book with a DVD. All of his videos for the first 100 monsters and then some are included. And two of my stories made it into the book. So pick up a copy and read about “Reggie” and “Herman”, monsters 91 and 95. They will be very happy that you did. And if you do, please post a reply here and tell me what you think. I hope you like them both.

Thank you Stefan for your inspiration and your kindness!

Never Forgotten. I am a member of the ZNE network and was able to contribute to a book project for one of its members who recently lost her mother. I encourage everyone to take a look at the book and purchase one for yourself or for a loved one who may need some support or encouragement. I do not received any kind of compensation and am even purchasing my own copy so this is not a sales pitch. My piece is Essence & Longing and is included under the “Healing: The Beauty of the Soul” section in the book. If you do buy a copy, remember to post here and tell me what you think.

BACK IN SCHOOL

Started back to college week before last, totally online, and love it. Wish I could have done it sooner. They have the same accreditation as the local university but without worrying about scheduling, gas prices, or the wear and tear on my vehicle. Val has been in since August, he’s on the Dean’s list, (WOOT You go baby!) and I should be there soon as well. I am working on my BFA in Visual Communications with a specialization in Digital Design which, mostly, is the degree for what I have already been doing for the last 22 years. I have been wanting to finish school though, needed the piece of paper, and wanted to get all of the new software so here I am. I really enjoy the interface, the structure, the whole layout of AIU. And, yes, it takes a lot of discipline. But I will have my degree in 13 months, not four years, and there is something incredibly motivating about that. When I graduate in July of next year, if not sooner, I will be working on my Masters in Education there or finding a school where I can complete my Architectural Design degree. Yup, there is the secret to my handwriting, I was an Architectural Design major previously.

TED TALKS

“Who is this Ted person anyway…” you say? Don’t worry, I said that too. During my Visual Literacy class I was linked to a TED Talk by John Maeda. An incredibly brilliant, very funny man. Maeda spoke of simplicity, applying it to design and everyday life which is something I think we all need to look at. If you get a chance to watch the video, do, it is well worth the time. I have also found the TED Talks to be a fantastic resource. I think one of my favorites so far though has to be J.J.Abrams talking about the “mystery box” and writing.

A NEW SITE FOR ART FOR CURES

Art for Cures has been in need of a site for a while and, though I had started building one, my life and health conspired to keep me from it. After seeing a few site on the Ning network, seeing the resources available and the network’s framework, I decided to build us a home there. Art for Cures is now part of the Ning network and we already have several members there. Looking forward to posting the auctions in the next week and moving forward!

SCRIBBLES, DOODLES, AND SQUIBBLES

We like to hang out in the local bookstores on occasion (read we live there) and I am always on the lookout for new things fir Ysa and I to play with. Not seeing anything I could afford to get this week, or that we didn’t already have, I picked up another Kumon book for Ysa’s homeschool. Ysa and I rummaged around the children’s section a bit and a book accosted me on the way out. Well, it didn’t actually accost me per se, but I am very visual and certain things tend to jump out at me on shelves. In fact when I worked for the bookstores (both BAM and the Noble Barn), I was the one people always came to when they couldn’t remember the name of something. Nine time out of ten I would know it by what the spine or cover looked like and sometimes the “look” of the author’s name.

This time, as soon as I saw it, I knew it was coming home with us.

Scribbles by Taro Gomi is part of a three book series (might be a series, should be) and all three seriously ROCK. The books are almost two inches thick and full of half drawn doodles that you have to finish. It is total creative license, total interpretation, total fun.

…and yes, for those who recognized the name, Taro Gomi also wrote Everyone Poops. hehe

BEING ANACHRONISTIC AGAIN

I’ve rejoined the SCA after a long hiatus and have brought my family with me this time. Val is going Art/Sci, Logan is going heavy weapons, and even my girl is considering it as well since they start youth combat at age seven. She already makes a great shield wall, ran over the last guy. Val has been working on his own medieval chant notation, Logan is making chaine maille again and I have been pouring through patterns and buying fabric in preparation for garb making. It has been way too long since I have been camping so I am really looking forward to it.

Oh, I was also given the honor of being the Shire’s new Web Minister (or Mistress in this case).

My new tagline?

Ana Maria Seaton
ska Ginuivive Alysabaeth Rosewood (Dragonfly or Alysa)
Shire of Amurgorod, Kingdom of Trimaris
“The Dragonfly caught in the Spidered Web.”

Web site for the Shire coming very soon. VIVAT TRIMARIS!

SCRIPTFRENZY

ScriptFrenzy is this month, brought to you by the makers of NaNoWriMo. I toyed with the idea of working on a script I have had in my head for a while now but my time will not allow it. Also, anytime I even consider working on another writing project, my two novels – Moonlight & Shadow and Odonatia – beat me over the head and throw tantrums on the floor begging for attention. My children’s book, Clementine’s Garden, can get away with it though. They don’t beat her up because she is too cute.

WAIT, YOU SAID…ODONATIA!?

Yes I did, you heard me right. Odonatia is fast becoming a novel. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Odonatia is a fiction project I have been working on for about 10 years now. Started as a simple postal issuing authority for artistamps (faux postage), it quickly snowballed (read avalanched) into an epic piece of fiction with real passports, a winery and other goodies coming. Turning very steampunkish. Plans include a daily blog form the island, downloads and other goodies. Looking at a couple of other creative associates that might get involved as well in the future.

ON THE HUSH HUSH

Two major projects going on, one involving my rubber stamp line that is forthcoming, are building up speed and about to take off. Sadly though, and yes I know I am a tease, both are on the “hush hush” right now till I get the okay. I know, stop pouting, I’ll post here as soon as I get the green light. Needless to say both are of incredible proportion and I cannot wait to tell you all.

…well, that is all I can think of for now. (aren’t you glad? hehe) I will be posting scans, photos and a few updates today and over the next couple of days. This week has been a busy one so I have been trying to stay focused and push forward. Hoping this finds you all well and in good creative spirits!

Brightest blessings!