Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hot Diggity Blog - Blanco puts a screeching halt on the day's chores

Well, today was supposed to be a laundry day with scattered showers of scraptivity but it turns out that our cat, Blanco, has other ideas. Yes that is the laundry basket he's lolling in...

So, rather than disturb his adorableness, I took the opportunity to digitally scrap the moment, consciously avoiding housework with reckless creative abandon! ~LOL~  I do believe it was time well spent!

Sometimes we all need a break from the daily grind. Chores are mostly BORES in my mind anyway but I guess I can't complain too much. I'm lucky enough to have clothes and blankets to wash, a washing machine to wash them in, and an appreciative husband who always notices and thanks me for putting fresh linens on the bed. And I too {LOVE} fresh sheets. There's just something about the crisp, crumb-free, Downey scented sheets that makes me ridiculously happy. Simple pleasures make it all worthwhile.

And while I have enjoyed my morning off from the role of "Little Susie Homemaker", I know that cat wont sleep all day. At 27lbs, it's a safe bet he'll be at the food bowl anytime now and I'll be donning the LSH moniker, pretending like I'm the housewife in a 60's sit-com to amuse myself while doing the mundane fluff and fold routine. 

~ Enter Darren Stephens (Dana, that one's for you...) "Hi Honey I'm home! Dinner smells wonderful." Now if I could only get that darn nose wiggle down so I could continue to play instead of clean...

It's really not such a bad life, huh? :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Memorable Monday - Quotes and Lyrics that inspire me to create

Ah, here it is Monday and I've accomplished much already today but I am now starting to feel that pre-lunch lull kicking in. My mind's starting to wander and I feel a little "floaty" and ungrounded which could mean several things, I need to eat, I need a nap, or I just need to suck it up and get working on something to wake me up. Generally I combine 1 and 3 and get moving, if I give in to 2 I wake up and feel like I have to start all over again so, 1 and 3 it is!

Quotes and lyrics are a great source of inspiration to me. Honestly, I have a lot of those "dang, that was good, wish I'd thought of that" moments when I come across a particularly pertinent quote. I love to see what quotes "click with you as well, so if you have any favorite quotes that help motivate and inspire you please post comments!

Here are a few of my favorite motivators (especially when I need a swift kick in the butt to get me moving forward):

Don't let tomorrow find you wishin', Boy you've got a mission,  Shake it, rattle and roll - Jimmy Buffett

   Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway.- Mary Kay Ash   

One of the strongest characteristics of genius is the power of lighting its own fire. - John W. Foster

Just do it - Nike

  Well begun is half done - John Fawcett  

It's kind of fun to do the impossible. - Walt Disney

Empowerment is accepting that our imaginings are actually our "coming attractions" - Krys Caywood

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. - Albert Einstein

Nothing happens without action. - Anon

  I like to move it move it - King Julian, Madagascar  

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Refilling the Well, creative seasons

Seems I'm a bit backblogged this week! I've been busy with design and family visiting from the the Pacific Northwest, and appointments...sheesh. Sometimes I enjoy the social interruptions but when I over-schedule them I start to get crabby due to lack of creative time to myself. I know it's bad, but acknowlegdement is the first step on the road to recovery! :) (Seriously though, at my age change isn't likely!)

So, disclaimer out of the way now on to Thursday's,  I mean today's blog! Todays blog is about renewal and refilling the well. As much as I complain and get irritable when I'm interrupted, I do realize that it is essential to my creative growth and expression in irreplaceable ways.  I tend to work in a vacuum, meaning absolute total seclusion, and while that allows me to crank out a lot of work, it also drains the creative juices that fuel my creativity. So it's good and necessary to interact with the world to keep current and not become repetitive and stagnant in my design style.

The life cycle of creativity for me, is much like the seasons. While it appears that winter is the death of everything, it is actually that much needed respite from all the activity and creation we enjoyed over the spring, summer, and fall. Winter is Mother Nature's version of hibernation and it seems that we all fall prey to it. Especially in New England where the weather is cold, blustery and brutal. We tend to hole up for the long winter months and by now start to loudly voice our need for spring! This is exactly the cycle that I go through with design. I'm ready for spring. I've had my month long nap and now I'm charged up to start an explosion of color and pattern on the page. Although it's still officially winter, in my design cycle it's most definitely spring. And in the outside world signs of spring are starting to peek through too. It's been a long cold winter and this past week was full of time spent out and about, enjoying the 40 degree days, loving seeing the sun and spending time laughing and chatting with family and friends. It's been like a flower blooming through a blanket of snow.

I have come to the conclusion that we all need a little winter to fully enjoy the vibrant color and activity that comes with spring. Winter clears your palette. Winter give us time to reconnect, to refill the well, and soon, the little seeds that you've planted take root and sprout, and if you make the time to watch, they might just magically bloom right before your eyes...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Total Blog Fog!

I'm in a bit of a blog fog today. Truthfully I'm in a total fog today! I stayed up watching the Olympics last night and obviously did not get enough sleep to sustain sufficient brain power to write anything remotely interesting. Therefore, I am sharing a digital scrap page that simply and sweetly captures the sleepiness I feel right now! 

My kitty Chase, affectionately called M-WOWZer (because when he meows he says "M-WOWZ"), had a super sleepy face in this photo and it's perfectly summing up how I feel on this snowy day, fireplace blazing and hot chocolate buzz wearing off...oh to be a cat, if only for one day.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Memorable Monday - Honoring the positive influences in our lives

So last week was about turning your dream into an action plan. And after a week you may need a little more motivation and encouragement to get out there and take that first step. While I encourage you all to do that, it's often more meaningful to look at the people who have had a positive influence on us to get motivated and feel secure and confident as we move forward into what seems like the uncharted territory of great success.

This past weekend I was fortunate to have had a wonderful visit with my Godparents whom I have not seen in almost 10 years. And I have to say that, hands down, besides my own parents, this enthusiastic and loving couple truly influenced my life in more positive ways that I can count. Just spending several hours recounting stories from my childhood days spent with them and their children reminded me how much I missed having them in my daily life. There is something incredibly comforting that emanates from certain people. It's as if we're dialed into the same frequency and the glorious hum of that life energy puts us in a state of bliss. I know it sounds odd, but you have to admit that sometimes you say "she has a way about her..." or "there's just something about him"... That's what I'm talking about.  The connection between people that feels like home. That feeling is the focus of todays Memorable Monday task.

Take out your journal and write the names of 10 people who have influenced your life in a positive way. Write down examples of their generosity of spirit, the encouraging words or actions that you remember and take stock in those words and actions to remind yourself what wonderful things you have to offer.

Now, take the time to reflect on the positives in yourself and consider ways you can share your enthusiasm for life with another person. Maybe one day they will put you on their list of "10 people that positively influenced my life". Keep the cycle of positivity going in your own way.

Sharing yourself is often a great motivator to move forward in whatever creative venture you wish to undertake. Have a memorable Monday! :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Ahead III- KDi STUDiOS

Many of you know I owned and ran a greeting card company named KDi STUDiOS. But not many of you know why or how it started. This is the story of KDi.

For many years, since graduating college, I used the title KDi STUDiOS for my freelance illustration business, K = Krys, D = Denshick and I = Illustration. But after leaving a job in 2001 (under extremely bad working conditions),  I was left in a very dark place and my loving and patient husband found the perfect way to heal me. He suggested that we start our own greeting card company. (this occurred after looking for a birthday card for someone, and reading through 20-30 cards before finding one that was just okay). And just like the SkiDaddles story, when Dave gives me creative encouragement, I have a tendency to run with it. That is exactly the case of KDi.

We began by deciding that we'd keep the KDi name only now we joked that it stood for Krys and Dave Innovations (we actually got asked what it stood for by many at the National Stationery Show so it was good we figured it out beforehand!) and we kept the original logo of the little pigtailed girl who looked a bit pissed off to some, but she had character and was memorable as we found out in the following months and years when people would show up at our booth and say, "There she is!!! We we're looking for the little girl!"

When we started the company we set our sights on the National Stationery Show which was only 5-6 months away, so needless to say there was quite a bit of work to be done and amazingly in that short amount of time I cranked out over 300 card designs, we built a booth and all the tables and furnishings to go in it and we created a computerized order system which was unheard of back in 2002! We were handling everything ourselves, from design to packing orders to customer service.

And it paid off in many ways, none of which, however, were financial independence!!! LOL Over the next three years I designed and ran a business that had international sales and recognition. We were nominated for 6 LOUIE awards in our first and second years of business. We didn't win, but the nomination alone is a fantastic honor. They take three cards in each category so we like to tell ourselves we came in second! LOL

It was a wonderful fun three years but we learned that it takes more than determination, drive and good design to make a greeting card company successful. It takes money, a lot of money, and sales. Having a reliable sales team is crucial to your success. We had reps but none of them seemed to move enough product to keep us afloat and neither Dave nor I were drawing a paycheck. Why did we do it? It was a leap of faith, and the end result was better than any financial gain.  We grew as people, we stretched our wings, we learned more than we ever would have just working for anyone else, we had a fabulous wonderful adventure and it brought us closer together in the process.

There was a lot learned during those years, but the most important thing I came to know was my husband's love for me knows no bounds. He knew in his heart what would make be better, more than any doctor or friend or counselor, he knew me and what makes my heart happy and he gave me the opportunity to find out for myself just what I'm made of. And he showed me that no one and nothing could ever take away my talent or passion or unique views on life.

Congratulations go out to....

If your name is in the winner's circle, please email me at kryscaywooddesign@gmail.com to claim your prize. Since both new comments were put on last weeks digital rub on giveaway, I'm not sure if you would prefer those pieces instead of the frames. Please indicate in your email which you wish to receive. :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

HDB delay

I know, I know the calendar says Hot Diggity Blog Looking Back, Looking Ahead part III for today but I just have not gotten to it yet. I promise I will post it tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wild Card Wednesday is over

Time's up on the Wild Card Wednesday SkiDaddle hat prize! Sorry folks! That's why it's called Wild Card - you never know when it will be posted or what it will be and there won't be any facebook prompts, you just need to sign into the blog on the Wednesdays and look for it! Check the Calendar for alerts on the next Wild Card Wednesday date - it's not every week. It's WiLD!!!


Tell me why you should win a free SkiDaddle hat by 7:00 pm est today and one person will be selected to win a hat of our choosing. Only 1 person will win! You have 45 minutes to get in your comments!!! Happy Wild Card Wednesday!!! GOOD LUCK!

NOTE: You must be located in the Continental US to win and must provide mailing address upon notification that you've won to receive your prize.

Prize will be shipped in 2-4 weeks time. If you wish to receive it earlier you will need to provide a fed ex number and cover the cost of shipping.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead II - Chapeaux de poissons à Chamonix

The next craft chapter (not necessarily in chronological order) as I look back, evolved into a business that my husband and I started while on a trip with friends to the french alps. But it started months earlier on the banks of Lake Pocotopaug, well in a two bedroom condo that faced the lake anyway.

While Dave and I were dating he told me a story of wanting to have a great big shark hat, which, when he skied down a mountain would fly behind him giving the appearance of the shark swimming.  (Note to all: Never, and I mean NEVER tell such a story to a bored and extremely creative Pisces with a sewing machine and a coupon for polar fleece)

Unsure of just what I was getting myself into, I started drawing up patterns and cutting out fleece sharks and teeth until after about 8 prototypes I had one that actually worked! Then I really got creative...the flood gates were opened and I was fully focused on finny fleece fish! Once I had the shark figured out, it was super easy to alter it a tad to create a dolphin, then came the gold fish, spotted puffer, clownfish, starfish, sting ray and the octopus (oh yes, it was immense and absolutely hysterical to see in action). These were joined by a beautiful blue marlin, electric eel and a seahorse and finally the piece de resistance - the Orca whose blowhole doubled as a chapstick holder!

During my fleece fish fabrication frenzy, we planned a ski trip to Chamonix with our good friends Jeff and Lori from Cinci. And in February 1999 (? I'm sooo not good with dates and numbers...) we headed across the pond. We landed in Paris and took a few days to toodle around London and Paris before renting a car and driving the 2-3 hours to Chamonix. It wasn't long before we realized that the drive would be much longer due to the heavy snowfall.  It took us about 12 hours to make that trip and we arrived in Chamonix around 4:00 am to the Gendarme asking us what our destination was.

Unbeknownst to us there had been a series of major avalanches and the slopes were all shut down to skiers. We shared our chalet address with the guard and travelled about 10 yards from him when our car coughed, sputtered and died, the little Renault couldn't handle any more snow. Luckily for us the bars had just closed and 4 young men came up behind the car and started pushing! They pushed us into a parking lot and lo and behold (i kid you not) it was parking lot to the Chalet we were staying at! It was fortuitous and unbelievably surreal - 4:00 am in a foreign country covered in 12 feet of snow has that effect.

Anyway, here's where the business part starts...Since the slopes were all closed we had no options other that walking around the adorable town of Chamonix and mixing with the locals. With all the snow and freezing temps all four of us donned one of the super warm stuffed fish hats and before long we had droves of small french children following us down the snow covered streets singing "Les poissons, Mama, les poissons!" We received the same excited and amused response from just about everyone we met. People flocked to us and tried on the hats and took pictures. We all laughed and many joined us for drinks and broken conversation. We found a great internet cafe that had a great house red, and there we registered the website and that was the start of SkiDaddles hats and our company Liftlines Inc.

Below are some images of the hats. I will have to find the rest of the candid photos and scan them in tomorrow so you can see them in action.

FAB FEB FRIDAY giveaway reveal

One lucky follower will get framed by Krys Caywood Design this week! These frame overlays are designed to fit over 4x6 photos but are fully scaleable to fit your needs. Here's a sneak peek at a few of the frames in the bunch!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Ahead I - The Puzzle Queen

When I came up with the title for this post it didn't occur to me just how much I've really done over the past 10 years and how ridiculous it would be to try to recap all of it in just one blog post...So I think I will break it into a few posts spread out over the next week or so. :) I'll start with inspiration for a major undertaking...Mosaic Table Tops...

When I was young, elementary school aged, I was constantly put to shame by my sister who excelled at puzzles. She'd blast through a 1000 piece puzzle in two days flat and strut around the house like the puzzle queen. She even went so far as to buy the puzzle preserver one time to savor the victory of finishing one of her fabulous puzzles. She was relentless in her pursuit of the perfect puzzle. She quickly advanced from 1000 piecers to 2500 and 5000! Her puzzles would take up the entire play table and I couldn't do a darn thing about it. So one day I devised a plan to curtail her love of the predominant puzzling that was taking over my craft area...

We went to the store and I watched Karen pick out her next victim...a 10,000 piece puzzle. I was bound and determined to take the puzzle queen crown so I waited patiently until she got home and opened the box, carefully pulling out all the edge pieces, which, everybody knows, is the ONLY way to start a puzzle...and while "helping her" pick out the edge pieces I silently and stealthily pocketed one little piece from the center section of course. Then it was all patience...who knew how long it would take her to finish this beastly puzzle, 10,000 pieces could take days...but I waited and lurked and waited some more until finally she was almost done. There she was holding what she thought was the last piece in her hands. She placed it in the puzzle and slowly started to realize the puzzle wasn't done...there was a gaping hole in it! But it was a new puzzle! How on earth could there be a piece missing already?!?! 

When she started to huff and puff, my parents and grandmother rushed in to help look for the missing piece. My moment of glory had arrived. To a full house,  I excitedly made my entrance, and with the boldest, most grandiose gesture possible, I reached into my pocket, pulled out the piece and snapped it into place! At last!!! Victory was mine. I was through the roof as I announced loudly enough for the neighbors to hear "I FINISHED THE 10,000 PIECE PUZZLE!!! I'M THE PUZZLE QUEEN! I FINISHED IT ALL BY MYSELF!" (which, really wasn't a lie, because I did finish it all by myself, I just didn't do the rest of it). I was promptly sent to my room until dinner.

It was a hollow victory that stayed with me all these years until one day a wind storm blew into town and knocked over our deck table, shattering the glass table tops. Here was my golden opportunity, the opportunity that I'd been waiting for.  A chance to redeem myself and rightfully claim the puzzle queen crown as my own. I immediately went online and found a mosaic supply store. Such beautiful glass tiles in a glorious array of colors! No puzzle could ever compare to what I would create. AND...no piece would ever NOT fit...I bought nippers and the proper glue and grout and sealant (my version of the puzzle preserver) and then I slaved over the table top for months through out the summer and one day,  I stood back and smiled...it was done. It was beautiful, and it was indeed, worthy of the crown. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Memorable Monday - From Dreamer to Doer...

They say America is the land of opportunity, a place where dreams come true. And anyone who watched the Super Bowl yesterday can attest to that. A true Cinderella story, first time Saints beating the almost undefeated Colts. It's re-affirming whether or not you are a Saints fan. It's a testament to my point that dreams really can come true.

The little known fact about dreams is that they often come true AFTER you put a lot of hard work into them. The overnight sensation is most often an overnight sensation just to the public, while he himself has been working several jobs, beating the pavement and making strides for many weeks, months, even years to achieve the dream.

Today is the day to go from dreamer to doer. Shake of the lofty ideas of suddenly being discovered and put pen to paper to outline your dream in attainable bits. List the dream, and list the steps it will take to get there.

Now, take a step...

A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement. - Bo Bennett

 You have the courage and power to live your dreams. -Les Brown 

If you don't have a dream, how are you going to make a dream come true? - Oscar Hammerstein

You must go after your wish. As soon as you start to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has meaning.  -Barbara Sher

 If you want your dreams to come true, don't over sleep. -Yiddish Proverb 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Congratulations go out to....



Since there were really only three comments, I couldn't pick just one! Congratulations on winning the FIRST EVER FAB FEB FRIDAY for FOLLOWERS giveaway from Krys Caywood Design!

Ladies, contact me at kryscaywooddesign@gmail.com with your email addresses and I'll send the files out asap!

Share the blog with your friends 'cuz next weeks giveaway is gonna be BIG!!! More followers, more prizes, more fun!

Have a wonderful weekend. I'll be back on Monday with the first Memorable Monday post!

It's Almost time...

You have until 4:45 to get those comments onto the blog! If you can't sign in to be a follower just leave a comment below this post and I'll include your name in the drawing! :)

The winner will receive 25 individual 300 dpi .png files and the composite image shown below.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cupid draw back your bow....

Well, as promised here is the the fabulously fun Valentines craft I mentioned yesterday. It's a spin on the traditional Cupid Love Arrow only gentler. Getting shot by an arrow to fall in love didn't seem so romantic, but getting tapped by a magic wand on the other hand.....enchanting!!! I hope you enjoy this project as much as I do! It's really sweet!

To begin I purchased foam hearts with adhesive backs (you could use chipboard too). I gathered my selected papers and stuck a heart to the back side of the page and cut out. (again if you have a cricut, silhouette or other fancy die-cutting machine, you could save yourself LOADS of time here by adhering your paper to chipboard and cutting the hearts out with the machine instead of by hand!
Once the heart is cut out, simply adhere it to the dowel rod by using a second foam heart which you would peel and adhere to the back of the first heart sandwiching the dowel in between. (chipboard users would apply adhesive then follow the same step)
After the heart is firmly attached begin wiring your festive hearts and beaded floral embellishments and ribbons around the dowel too then cover by tying a feather boa around the wires and ribbons to conceal the mess - OR you can tie on your feather boa first then tie ribbons and push them up to the bottom of the boa. I've done tried both methods and found it to be just matter of preference. The boa is the key though, because it hides the messy part and protects your fingers from those wired ends that stick out.
Once the boas are on, arrange your wired bangles and ribbons and VOILA! Your wand is complete! I found an adorable little tin pail for a $1.00 at Michael's that I filled with colored paper clips and added a boa around the top to stand the wands in. You can use any vase or pot with floral foam or sand or sugar....any medium which will give you support for the wands. (NOTE: These are not suggested for use as toys for small children as the wires could cut little fingers and the bangles could cause a choking hazard - use for decoration only)


Lots of exciting stuff happening here at Krys Caywood Design. Today we have a great Cupid craft project underway AND we're announcing our FAB FEB FRIDAYS for FOLLOWERS giveaway!

To win you need to sign up as a follower of Krys Caywood Design and leave a comment below. (please keep in mind the giveaway is for personal use only, you may not reproduce, redistribute or sell it as your own design) 

This weeks giveaway is the new FAB FEB Digital Rub-On sheet lovingly designed just for you! See below!

We'd LOVE to see what you design with the rub-ons if you win, so once you create a scrapbook page,  card or other project please send us a photo so we can post it!

Remember you MUST sign up to be a follower and leave a comment below to be in the contest. Winner will be chosen at random and will be announced Friday, February 5th at 5 p.m est.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cupid craft project coming tomorrow!!!

Hey All you crafty cats, get ready for some BIG Valentines fun tomorrow! Here's a sneak peek of the materials I've gathered for a very festive project. Can you guess what we're making? 

Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren't even there before.  ~Mignon McLaughlin