studio

Sharing a quick cleaning tip

And if you are not an artist, this may sound like it doesn’t apply to your life, but stay with me for a minute.

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As mentioned in my last blog post, I’ve been working on some oil pastel paintings (and yes, that’s what it’s called when you cover an entire surface with oil pastels). In fact, here’s a closeup of one of my favorites:

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Wild poppies

One of my favorite new oil pastel paintings, which I made using Sennelier oil pastels and cold-pressed watercolor paper

Turns out I didn’t just cover watercolor paper with oil pastels, I also managed to get a decent amount on my fingers. And on the surface of my wooden work table. And also? I dropped a bit of the wrapper from one of the oil pastels on the floor, and stepped on it, and it left a big white smear. And Kismet, my helpful studio assistant, knocked bright yellow on the floor and it smeared like WHOA when I tried to wipe it up. And I was temporarily bemused (not amused, trust me).

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Lemon

So fresh, so happy

And then I remembered that I am a distributor for Young Living essential oils in possession of many oils, but most specifically, of LEMON essential oil, which is the go-to for removing things like “chewing gum from hair” and “label adhesive off of glasses” and such. So i put two small drops of lemon oil on a paper towel, and wiped, and lo! the oil pastels transferred onto the paper towel and off the floor (and table) and all was well.

In fact, it was a bit better than that, even, since it left my studio smelling lemony fresh.

So if you, fellow artist, manage to get oil pastels on your surfaces, reach for lemon oil. If it’s on a wood surface, remember to wipe in the direction of the grain of the wood.

And same goes for anyone else with a sticky or greasy sort of issue that needs tackling (like tree sap) or something sticky that you’d like to remove—like chewing gum from hair, or stickers from things, or temporary tattoos on skin. (If you don’t have a local supplier of lemon oil, you can get in touch and order Young Living lemon essential oil from me.)



Scenes from my studio on New Year's Day

We are happy with our quiet start of 2019. I got a pretty awful upper respiratory virus last week, and spent all of Saturday in bed with a a miserable fever. I mean, I shouldn’t judge, I guess. But it made me feel miserable, so I assume its feelings won’t be hurt if I reference it that way.

Today is for doing just a bit of each of the things I’d like to enjoy and focus on this year. (You can read about that a bit in this prior post.) I’ve done my meditation this morning, and am going to sit down with Morris, my sweet husband, and engage in some “year in review” stuff once he gets home from his tai chi class. There will be time for cooking and laundry and a walk in the sun.

And I’ve already spent some time in my wonderful studio, which is something that didn’t even exist at this time last year. Here are some photos from this morning.

And yes, I noticed that these pictures strategically cropped out a bunch of mess. I was hoping you didn’t notice.

The Most Wonderful Time: a holiday shopping party

What: A holiday shopping event that combines an open studio for my artwork with stations set up by three other vendors: Clove & Cedar, Jularee Handcrafted Jewelry, and Natures Energy. Items for sale include original artwork and greeting cards, jewelry, macramé, and pottery. And I know for a fact all four of us work to imbue our items with positive energy. (And we all accept credit cards as well as cash, by the way.)

When: Sunday, December 2nd, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

Where: In my studio in Williamstown, NJ. Street address will be provided when you RSVP

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WHY

Because that’s the important part

Why: It’s super important to me as a female business owner to support other female-owned businesses. It’s important to me as a female maker to support other female makers. It’s important to me to shop local, to shop small, and to shop handmade. And it’s important to me to draw other female makers who are entrepreneurs together.

So when I had the idea to throw my studio open for local folks to stop by and see my artwork (and hopefully buy some stuff - let’s keep it all the way real here!), I started to calculate how many other vendors I could possibly fit inside our house without people tripping over one another, and I figured I could fit a maximum of three additional vendors inside. And with it being a December event, I didn’t want to set up my tent out back. (Though heads up: when it’s nice out, I’m totally planning on doing just that so I can have more woman-owned businesses here!)

I’m being joined by

  • my friend Rita, owner of Jularee, who makes hand-crafted chakra and gemstone jewelry (including birthstone pieces), using sterling silver, copper, and even gold-filled wire.

  • my new friend Lisa, owner of Natures Energy, who makes hand-thrown pottery pieces as well as jewelry pieces enhanced with handmade copper chain and other sustainably sourced items.

  • my new friend Erin, owned of Clove & Cedar, who makes macramé pieces that include feathers and sweet rainbows, plant hangers, and wall hangings (often incorporating natural wood elements).

We are planning on filling this space with positive energy and happy shoppers. And toward that end, we are also going to have SNACKS, because snacks are good for energy, am I right? There will be coffee, tea, and mulled cider along with the tasty nibbles. I really hope you will come. Because it’s going to be The Most Wonderful Time!

On Living an Abundant Life

Does living an abundant life mean that you have great wealth? Does it mean you have nothing but good things in your life? What do you do when real life sends you something that isn’t exactly good? Just what does an abundant life look like?

I consider my current life to be an abundant one. No great wealth, not that I’m not open to that (hear that, Universe?). And I do have good things in my life: a place to live that has running water, working heat and air conditioning, a (small but) nice kitchen with working appliances, a sweet cat, an even sweeter husband (seriously, he’s such a good guy), two wonderful daughters out living their lives.

But it’s not all good stuff here. If you’re new around here, you probably don’t know that I’m disabled (two autoimmune issues that require lots of rest and have a tendency to flare up, not just when I’m stressed, but when the weather changes, or just for kicks). My family has been dealing with cancer issues this year, since my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in July. My husband’s sweet and salty cousin Sel died on the 14th, not long after I posted my last blog post about choosing abundance.

Yet while we have been grieving for Sel, and I’ve been using more pain management stuff than usual (heat, salt baths, pain meds, and CBD oil on some spots), we’ve spent more time than usual with family. The funeral, shiva, and Thanksgiving found us with Sel’s wonderful family, and seriously, they are some terrific people. Also leading abundant lives, despite their own issues.

So I guess the answer to the question of what an abundant life looks like is that it looks like anyone’s life. Because the answer depends on you and your viewpoint. If you acknowledge and celebrate the good things in your life, chances are pretty good that you’re leading an abundant life. If you prefer to focus on the things you lack (whether they are objects, cash, or people), or on the things you dislike, chances are a bit higher that you’re not living in abundance.

It’s up to you to turn it around!

Karen Salmansohn knows what’s what.

Karen Salmansohn knows what’s what.

If you are interested in more about abundance or other energy work, I hope that you will sign up for my newsletter. It goes out roughly weekly with information related to living with more positivity in your life.


Before I go, I wanted to invite you to shift your energy just a bit this holiday season by coming out to THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME: a Holiday Shopping Party, which I am hosting here in Williamstown, NJ. I am opening my studio up on Sunday, December 2nd, from 12 noon to 4 p.m., and I’ve invited three other women I know who are makers and who own their own small businesses to join me and sell their things as well. And everyone accepts cash or credit cards. So if you come out, you will not only get snacks and mix with happy people, but you’ll be shopping local, supporting woman-owned small businesses, and shopping handmade. Win-win-win!

Below is a gallery—if you click on the image below, you can cycle through and see some of the items that will be available here:

Just a hint of what you might expect to find this Sunday! If you need the street address for my studio or directions, let me know!

Fall Cleaning

My husband, Morris, and I spent hours together yesterday and today, cleaning out half of our garage. We have a two car garage that we keep our two cars in, along with TONS of other things stored around the edges. Our efforts resulted in giving away a five-foot tall IKEA wooden wine rack, putting an awful lot of tools and doodads away (so many loose screws, you guys — LOL), and throwing out a rather impressive amount of things. Including a dead squirrel, that apparently crawled under some shelving in our garage to die. (I am so sad for the poor wee thing—but it obviously had passed quite a long while ago.)

Earlier this week, I spent quite a lot of time cleaning half of my studio. Below is a shot of a still-needs-to-be-cleaned table, but I sort of fell in love with it anyhow.

Feathers, oils, a crystal point, a paint carousel, a music box, some silk sunflowers, . . .

Feathers, oils, a crystal point, a paint carousel, a music box, some silk sunflowers, . . .

I’ve been diffusing some lovely combinations here in the house lately. At this moment, the house smells of Cedarwood, Wintergreen, Orange, and Bergamot, since that’s what I added to the Epsom salts in the bath I ran for my sweetheart after so much hard work today. He literally powered through SO MUCH STUFF. I spent more time in a chair or advising than actually lifting and carrying and such, though I did do a decent amount of sweeping and sorting of hardware. It’s not something I focus on, but in case you are looking for high-quality essential oils, I do sell Young Living oils (in theory — I have my distributor listing, but haven’t signed anyone up or sold any to other people in the past five years). The post being, if you’d like some, hit me up.

On Monday of this week, I started taking a new online art course, which has kept me busy this week. But I’ve also almost finished up this piece, which features an Emily Dickinson poem and will be going in my shop early next week at $100. (Holler now if it’s yours):

Autumn—overlooked my Knitting—

Autumn—overlooked my Knitting—

Next week is for more art class, and for my IV infusion to treat my rheumatoid arthritis (hence the sitting and not lifting so much portion of fall cleaning), and for travel to South Carolina for most of October, where I hope to be of use as a chauffeur for my dad, who is doing radiation and chemotherapy for esophageal cancer. BUT! I have an event that I just got to list on my calendar for November, so that makes me happy. More in a bit, once it’s confirmed.

If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter, you can do so at my home page. I just sent one out the other day, and the next will go out sometime in October. (Hint: it will have a special sale event for subscribers!)

It's been a busy week around here

This week was taken up with lots of construction work. As a person with a couple of autoimmune disorders, I usually sleep until about 9 a.m. most days, but that wasn't a possibility this week, as I had to be up before 8 four out of 5 days, and the fifth day, I had to be up at 8. 

But look! They framed my new studio! And put a roof on! And even managed a bit of Tyvek and an installed window (ahead of a rather wet and wild Nor'easter)!

See my sweetheart in the grey, talking to the project manager?

See my sweetheart in the grey, talking to the project manager?

Despite all the NOISE NOISE NOISE NOISE (that's me, channeling the Grinch), I managed to get some work done.

In fact, I did so many boat collages that I can offer you a boat show!

The 8"x10" boat pieces are going to be priced at $80 and the 11"x14" ones will be $100. Holler out if you spy one that you want!

In the next blog post, expect to see the finished studio. Oh my gosh, you guys, I am so excited!

Tour of my "studio" space

I don't know about you, but if you are anything at all like me, you are interested in seeing where artists work. In my case, at present, it is in the middle of our living room. And yes, it means I have an exceptionally tolerant and supportive husband - especially since if left to his own devices, everything would be exceedingly tidy. Instead, it looks like this:

Copyright Kelly R. Ramsdell 2017

Copyright Kelly R. Ramsdell 2017

As you can see, there's nothing tidy about the entire situation. 

Some of my supplies are stored in boxes, and some of those boxes fit under a nearby piece of furniture. Others . . . don't. Some of my supplies are stored in a swell teal cart from IKEA. Some are jammed behind pieces of furniture or stored in an entirely separate room.

My workspace, which you can see a closeup of below, consists of a collapsible sewing table that I inherited from my grandmother, which is set on top of a large tarp that also houses the swell new easel that my sweetheart purchased for me recently as a gift. The table usually holds my butcher tray palette, a container of water, spray bottles, pencils, paint markers, brushes, and occasionally gel medium, as well as whatever paints I'm using at the moment. 

Copyright Kelly R. Ramsdell 2017

Copyright Kelly R. Ramsdell 2017

You can see a copy of in-progress pieces on the left there. The bird is cut and collaged from marbleized paper that I made in a workshop a while back. Isn't he cheery?