Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spell A Day, An Inspiration Spell for Removing Creative Blocks

The other day while I was on the computer I had one of those CAPTCHA questions to answer, instead of just asking me to retype a twisted up phrase, it asked a question with multiple choice answers.  The question was "Which one is hardest?" 
The choices were:
1 picking up a pen
2. staring at blank paper
3. going for a walk
4.writing a novel
Drawing a BLANK...

I laughed and told Dan who was sitting there with me, "I know the answer is "writing a novel" but man,  staring at blank paper can be pretty hard in it's own way!!"
Over the years, I've had many creative types, writers, artists, etc. ask me if there is a good way to cure "creative blocks."  My advice is usually the same, "Quit doing what you're doing and get outside your comfort zone!"  That was the inspiration behind todays spell in Llewellyn's Spell A Day Almanac, which I have a link to at the end of this article.

Yeah, it's just like that!
It seems like staring at the blank page is the thing to do, that somehow forcing it the way you would attack an unopenable jar of pickles would be the answer, but creativity just doesn't work that way.  Your art table, computer, or wherever you choose to create isn't where your inspiration is born, it's just where you express your inspiration.  If you're feeling like you don't have any new ideas, or good ideas, then you need to take your brain and feed it, and not on the same old stuff.  You must give yourself new experiences in order to blow out the cobwebs and get your brain moving.  If you love nature, sitting in a garden might help, but if you're muse is really shut down, you might need to wake that muse up by doing something drastic and completely out of your nature or comfort zone. 

Now, I'm not talking anything illegal, but do something that you would never usually do, if you really don't dig country music, get thee to a honkey tonk bar!  If you've never seen a live play, Shakespeare in the Park!  Never been out of your home town, guess what...road trip! Are you nervous about the idea of trying something new?  Good, that means it's already working, you can do it, and your reward will be great!  Your muse is just a personification of that creative part of your mind, and that part can get bored.  Your outing doesn't have to be related in any way to the project you're trying to work on, but whatever you do, make it a brand new experience, that's what feeds your creative mind, and gets those synapses firing on all cylinders!

It's like magic!  If you're a magically inclined creative person, you can boost the experience and bend it towards your goal by using the following spell as a focusing tool for the exercise of taking your muse out on the town.  I wrote this for Llewellyn's 2013 Spell A Day Almanac, I hope you enjoy it!
All you need for this spell is a bag of mint tea, a journal and someplace brand
new to drag your snoozing muse.  Creative block? This is your wake up call!

Inspiration Spell

By Mickie Mueller, Spell Date: Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Color of the day: Red

Incense of the day: Basil
"Has your creative muse been napping? If everything seems solemn right now, the best way to get your creative juices flowing is to shake things up a..." Click here for the full spell!

You can use the power of creativity in many aspects of your life, not just artistic pursuits, inspiration can be applied to even the most mundane of tasks in order to get better results, so start thinking outside the box.  Where to begin, stepping outside your door and your comfort zone!

Interested in picking up a copy of Llewellyn's Spell A Day Almanac for 2013?  Click here!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Top 5 Reasons Tea for One is Awesome!

We started making these cool Tea for One sets in the studio for the holidays, and we've gotten such a good response, we're keeping them in stock!  These are really neat sets, a porcelain cup and teapot, just perfect a bit of indulgence for any tea lover (like me) creating a comforting moment to relax at home or even while taking a break at the office!  Here are the top 5 reasons that I love these new tea sets!

1. They Make You Feel Super Fancy!  For me, having a cup of tea is a little break just for me, even when I'm working, a sip make you feel good inside.  Having your own personal set like this makes it extra nice.  This set features the art of Lunar Eclipse, the Moon Goddess pulls her dark cloak around her as she rests in the starry sky.  If you love these pictures, just wait until you see one in person, even better! I love to nestle the cup in my hand, just perfect!

I was using mine while working on my illustrations for Llewellyn's Magical Almanac
last week, it's nice to be able to get a second hot cup without getting up, especially
when you're on a deadline!

2. They Don't Dribble!  These sets includes a 20 oz. teapot with a dome shaped lid and a 12 oz. tea cup. The tea-for-one set is perfect for enjoying two generous cups of tea. The teapot is pours really nice and neat, it was the first thing I noticed the first time I used one.  I've had many teapots through the years that dribble down the spout, but this one doesn't, and since I like to use it at my art table, you can imagine my delight!
Nice pouring, the spout is perfect!

3. Your Tea Ball Fits:  Sometimes I use teabags, I find that I can get a really good brew with one teabag, being a thrifty artist I often make two cups form one teabag anyway.  I recently received a gift of some lovely loose teas from Amitea and a fancy tea ball, so I hoped it would fit.  The opening of the top of the teapot measures 2" so you can use a teabag, a tea ball, English style tea strainer, and any infuser that is 2" or less in diameter.
I was so glad my new tea ball works! This pretty tea ball was a gift from fellow Etsy artisan MK Beckly
from Magical Monk Bags.  If you would like one of these pretty tea balls, you can find them here at Amitea.

4. Keeps Your Tea Hot:  The first time I used this, I was very pleased that the pot keeps the tea nice and warm, so that your next cup is perfect.  Here's a tip to extend the length of time the pot stays warm!  For years I've used an electric candle warmer to keep my tea nice and warm to the last sip.  When I used my Tea For One for the first time, I decided to see if the teapot would fit on it, and it did!  The teapot bottom measures 4” in diameter, it fits on my warmer just like it was made for it.  I was so very pleased.  They make fancier ones now, but mines just one of those plastic ones, you can get them just about anywhere they sell jar candles. 

Here's my teapot sitting on the candle warmer, it's a perfect fit!

5. It Doubles as Pretty Decor: The bottom edge of the teapot is inset so it fits on top of the cup for easy stacking. When you're done the cup and teapot stack neatly together until the next time you're ready to treat yourself! These Tea for One tea sets are also available with your choice of any of my art including the art from any of my decks, sure to add magic to any kitchen.
Everyone that comes over wants to check out my teapot as soon as they see it!

Do you want to enjoy a little luxurious break the way I do at my old wooden art table?  We've got these little gems available in our Etsy shop, so drop by and browse our designs, or pick your favorite art and order through our and we'll make one up just for you!

Brightest Blessings,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Studio Upgrade For My Favorite Price: Free!

Well, Dan and I are over the moon with delight, we have a new desk for the computer we use in the studio!  I still create my art on an old wooden art table, but we need our technology too.  This might not seem like a big deal, but with the computer and the giant printers that we use, you can't just use any old computer desk, plus the space is tight, since the production studio is a converted bedroom, so we've been looking high and low for something that is just the right fit and in our price range.  We've been using one of those big white fold-able tables that for a couple of years now, because it was all the we had that would work, but it wasn't very nice, and the height was a little "off."  We both got neck strain sitting there. 

So one day recently when we were at my moms house, Dan noticed a desk in her basement that wasn't being used that looked like it could work with some alterations.  They've been trying to get rid of some extra furniture that's taking up space so they really wanted us to have it.  Her husband is an engineer and he thought he could customise it to fit our printers on it.  He found two shelves that had been part of an aquarium stand that were exactly the right size for the printers to sit on and mounted them on the desk!  I wish I had thought to take a "before" picture to show you how the previous set up looked, but you'll just have to take my word for it, pretty sad.
This shot only shows one printer, but the other will go on the shelf on the other side.  Sometimes it's the little things in life that just make things easier this desk actually takes up less room but everything fits on it better than our previous makeshift set up!
When the printer is open, it used to block the screen making it a very awkward workspace, but now it's just perfect!  He did a great job, it looks like it came from the factory with those extra shelves, doesn't it?!  

Anyway, this is where we sit and print out sheets of art to press onto our coffee mugs, garden flags, oval tiles, and all the goodies that we make in the studio.  We use Photoshop Elements to work on the images, (as you can see in the picture above) we make them the right size and shape for each product and them lay them out on a sheet to print.  Then we use that big printer to print the images using a special dye and Dan uses our big heat presses to transfer the art onto each item.  Life in the studio just got a little bit nicer with our fancy new (to us) re-purposed desk!  Thanks Mom and Kelly!