Crazy Pom-Pom Lady Alert!

One of my goals for 2015 was to open an Etsy Store. I did it at the last possible second, practically. But I did it.

Yes, I am the Crazy Pom Pom Lady. Not to be confused with the fabulous PINBALL LADY in this skit from The Donny and Marie Show, 1976. Fun times.

Pinball Lady!!

Check me out! I have tons of cute gift items for your friends who are just the right brand of crazy, like me!

Pom-Pom Flower Pins, $6.00

Pom-Pom Dangly Earrings, $12.00

Neon Pom-Pom Statement Necklace, $22.00

Pom-Pom Friday Headband, $14.00

And I also have non-Pom Pom related items like these:

Animal Print Duct Tape Statement Necklace, $22.00

Pink Zebra Duct Tape Earrings, $14.00

This shop is just another way that I am trying to diversify myself as a working artist. I'll report back to you at the end of 2016.

I was inspired to open my shop because of my positive experience with my craft booth at the Holiday Arts Festival hosted by the Richmond Art Center.

  Photo by David Bernard and John Wehrle

Photo by David Bernard and John Wehrle

I’m so proud to have been one of the many artists and faculty that helped raise $30,000 to support the many programs RAC offers to people of all ages.  How great is that? I love art and my community. What better way to contribute. Thank you to all who came out and supported us.

And if you missed out on the color explosion that was the Pom-Pom Lady's booth, you can visit me at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DawnGonzalesDesign or attend my Mother's Day Pom-Pom Making workshop at the Richmond Art Center on Sunday, May 8, 12 - 4pm. Mark your calendars! More details to come soon.

Pom-Pom on, my friends! Pom-Pom on!

 

 

 

MAKERS GONNA MAKE! My sisterpalooza mini “crafti-cation”

I have always loved to make things. When we were children, my sister and I would get an idea and just go for it with any materials we had around the house. A large stack of printed inventory cardboard from my dad’s work kept us busy for years as we transformed it into such things as:

  • Paper dolls
  • Christmas tree ornaments
  • A pair of open toed high heeled shoes!

Sometimes our ideas worked. Sometimes they didn’t. But the process was always fun and we never felt bad about our craft “fails.” Children embrace creativity so much easier than adults because they are not afraid to experiment, and there is no judging. They have not yet been exposed to the cruel jive of this world: (“We’ve always done it THIS way.” “That will never work!” “Did you use an approved vendor?”) Ha-Ha. Can you relate?

This week, when my sister, Dionne, came to visit, we were busy from sun up to sun down making stuff and recapturing our creative spirits. We had a blast!

Here are some of the things we created:

  • Pom-Poms Headbands and earrings (inspired by The Richmond Art Center’s Skeletonfest workshop where we helped children make hundreds of fluffy pom-poms just for the fun of it)
  • Duct tape wallets, earrings and ID cases
  • Coloring sheets
  • Cheap and cheerful party decor
  • Spidery deviled eggs
  • Halloween costumes

We called my downstairs studio the CRAFTHOLE and documented our pursuits on social media. Our week included three diy costume changes too!

  • Dia de los muertos faces
  • Corsets and sequins for Rocky Horror Picture show
  • Freakshow outfits* (Tomorrow I will post a tutorial on how i made my parasitic twin costume.)

It was all so much fun and therapeutic!  Making art is such a wonderful release that I try to do it every day. Here are a few of my favorite quotes about creating art as therapy. I find truth in all of these:

“It’s time to make art, my soul is hungry.” - Anonymous

“If your heart is broken, make art from the pieces.” - Shane Koyczan

“Art was made to overcome chaos.” -Don Jones

I would love for you to share any of your favorite quotes along the same theme. Leave them in the comments section! 

Have a great week everybody! Go forth and make!

Skeletonfest 2015 at the Richmond Art Center

You guys! It's almost here. Skeletonfest 2015 at the Richmond Art Center! I'm so excited because I will be hosting their first ever Pom-Pom Making workshop. Stop by from 1-3 pm on Saturday October 24th at 2540 Barrett Avenue, Richmond, CA 94804 for a fun family afternoon of Dia De los Muertos arts and crafts.  Here are some of the Pom-Poms I will demonstrating:

Cat Eye Pom-Pom

Jack-O-Lantern Pom-Pom

Ghost Pom-Pom

Googly Eyes Pom-Poms

Square Pom-Pom

There will be so many fun arty things going on at the center that you don't want to miss. Bring the whole family to make sugar skulls, screen print  a T-shirt or (bring your own clothing or fabric), make a cool or scary mask, and enjoy the Dia de Muertos decor and snacks throughout the Art Center!  No registration necessary and all ages are welcome

While the kids are having fun creating, you can relax and get creative with my festive coloring pages for adults. You know you are intrigued! I can't wait to see you.  Felicidades!

http://richmondartcenter.org/events/skeletonfest/


Spending Time with Finn

I’ve been so busy these days. Busy good. I have been juggling logos, patterns, apparel designs, summer school classes, teaching curriculum and store graphic designs. Whew! But I did manage to fit in a very special project for a friend who lost her canine companion last June.

Doing pet portrait embroideries are my greatest joy. As of today, I have completed 10 of these labors of love. I love doing them because invoking the handicraft that my “abuelas” taught me makes me feel close to my heritage, while spending time being mindful and productive. It soothes my soul. I simply love the feel of the floss against my fingers, weaving together patches of color to form an illustration I may have had a creative inkling about, but just knew was somewhere in my mind waiting to spread onto the canvas. This is a special one. Meet Finn. I spent many peaceful hours with her nightly over 5 weeks. Those eyes.

Thanks to Nancy White Jayson for letting me share this story. 

“[Finn] was a rescue from Emmonak, Alaska.  A friend saw she was being abused by little kids and untied her from a post where they were throwing things at her (I still can't understand this).  Finn followed him around to a point where he couldn't get rid of her.  Unable to care for her himself due to his job (field work) he ended up bringing her down to Tucson, thinking he would give her to his mom.  I was in Tucson at the same time taking care of my mom who was terminally ill.  Without giving it much thought, after only knowing her a short time, I offered to take her and we have been inseparable ever since - August 2006.  She was at the foot of my mom during her illness and passing, traveled with me up and down the coast, landed with me back in San Diego, came to know and love my husband Eric (and tolerates his cat, Don Gato)...we even got her a little veil for our wedding.  

She had some high anxiety around other dogs and never fully got over her fear of little kids.  She loved ALL food - even veggies (except onions), especially carrots and chicken!  Her favorite times of day were breakfast and dinner.  She was the biggest cuddle bug ever.  She hung out with us at the beach, but only went into the water if we went in and she followed us.  When we would take her to the beach, she would just sit with us, protecting the perimeter of the blanket.  She wasn't much for long walks.  She basically liked to lounge around and accept belly rubs whenever offered.  Even exposed her belly for easier access.  I believe she was around 12 or 13 years old.  She died on June 21.“

I have a special place in my heart for all animals, especially rescue dogs, and so, it was a bittersweet pleasure to memorialize dear Finn with an embroidered portrait retelling her story in pictures.

As I think about Finn and what she must have meant to Nancy and Eric, my heart swells. She must have been such a joy and comfort to them throughout life’s many ups and downs.  I pictured Nancy and Finn flying down I-5 to attend to her mom’s bedside. That’s why I’ve included the California style palm trees, highway and road sign.

Nancy is a surfer and spent many days at the beach watching the sun rise and set as Finn (part Corgi!) stayed put on her little corner of her blanket. So, I added the San Diego sunrise and waves. Also, included is an Alaskan iceberg. While I’m sorry Finn was mistreated there, it’s part of her touching story with a very happy ending.

And of course, the cacti and desert flowers. I have a special place in my heart for Tucson, the town where I went to high school with Nancy and her sister. It will always be my home.

Oh! and Don Gato! The skeptical grey cat who eventually came to love Finn as part of the family.

I imagine that in doggie heaven, Finn is chowing down on a whole rotisserie chicken! And carrots! And milk bones! And maybe even Pup-a-cinos from Starbucks as she loved getting treats on her coffee runs with Nancy.

Rest peacefully, dear Finn. You are loved.

Tutorial: DIY up-cycled pom-pom remnant “confetti” coasters!

We have two sayings in this house: 

1. WE DON'T WASTE IN THIS HOUSE! 

and

2. MORE COFFEE PLEASE.

Here is a little up-cylced project I made on the fly this weekend inspired by our household matras: DIY up-cycled pom-pom remnant "confetti" coasters!

Simple sewn edge version

No Sew Duct tape version

Last week, I suddenly found myself the proud owner of a bag of teeny tiny yarn scraps collected from an afternoon of pom-pom making at the Makeshift Society SF with Brooklyn artist Dana Haim. I just thought they were way to pretty to throw away. But what to do with them? 

These are the beauties I made at Dana Haim's worksop

And these are the yarn bit remnants filling an entire shopping bag in my studio

While running errands, I found a bolt of thin clear vinyl at Stonemountain & Daughter fabric store on Shattuck in Berkeley. For$2.00 I was able to purchase 1/2 a yard! Perfect to try out a small project like coasters. Do you ever suddenly get that "jazzed for crafts" feeling, wanting to make something in an afternoon and have something awesome to show for it by end of day? I do. And I did!  Here's how I up-cycled the yarn bits from my weekend pom pom frenzy in five easy steps for this incredibly satisfying and fun coaster project:

MATERIALS NEEDED - Clear or transparent vinyl, yarn scraps - you could also use glitter, magazine images for collage, scrap book paper pieces, sequins, (really anything that is relatively flat), scissors, embroidery floss, large eye sewing needle, xacto knife (optional). ** for the no sew version use duct tape in bright color or patterns in place of the needle and floss.

 * and a bit of masking tape (optional!)

* and a bit of masking tape (optional!)

Duct tape in fun colors for the "new sew" version.

1. Measure and cut 8 identical 4” vinyl squares. Lightly tape together two sides of the squares with 1/4" piece of tape for stability while sewing together (optional).

2. Using a needle and about a yard of embroidery floss, stitch around 3.5 sides of the clear square sandwich as shown. You could do a running stitch, but ever since I learned the blanket stitch in girl scouts, it has been my personal opinion that this method makes anything look better. Plus, it's fun. Yeah, I love a good blanket stitch.

Step 1 and 2

3.  Leaving a 2” opening on the last side of your vinyl square sandwich, insert a few pinches of yarn scraps into the center and evenly distribute by smashing around. Don’t fill the pouch too much. It should be sort of flat so that your drink is balanced and stable.

Step 3

4. Finish sewing pouch closed. I tied a bow at the corner of the square where my threads ends  met, but you could simply knot it, or even add pom-pom tassels!

5. Do this four times and you have a colorful stack of wipe-able vinyl coasters. Why not bring them as a hostess gift to you next friendly crafternoon?

Bundled DIY coaster set for the crafter noon hostess with the mostess!

If you don't feel like sewing, here is a "no sew" version that is just as fun!

1. Measure and cut eight identical 4” vinyl squares. Lightly tape together two sides of the squares with 1/4" piece of masking tape for stability while attaching pieces together (optional).

2. Cut four 5” strips of duct tape in the color of your choice. Anyone who has ever met me knows that I will ALWAYS choose neon. ALWAYS. 

Vinyl Squares, duct tape and cutting implements

3. Cut each strip in half lengthwise as shown. I used an xacto knife and ruled mat for accuracy, but you can eyeball it and use scissors, specially if working with small children.

Step 3 and 4

4. With each 2”wide (half strip) fold evenly over edge of two vinyl pieces sandwiched together. Repeat on two more sides. 

Two sides with taped edges

5. Insert a few pinches of yarn scraps into the center and evenly distribute by smashing around. Don’t fill the pouch too much. It should be sort of flat so that your drink is balanced and stable.

6. Add your last strip of tape to seal, making sure that you squeeze out any extra air in your pouch. While it looks cool, you don't want a plastic pillow under your glass unless you want coffee all over your workspace. Do this three more times for a set of 4. Since these taped versions were so easy, I made six total and the project took only 1 hour. Instant art!

Yay Neon!

Now may I have some more coffee please?

This project would be a great summer camp or birthday party project for kids. It's very inexpensive and can be done in 1.5 hours or less. It's also a great way to use up old craft supply scraps.

Bringin' back the 80's: Yay Neon!

I'm having a love affair with the 80's. Most specifically, neon. I have had rolls and rolls of neon duct tape in my craft room for some time know. On my list of things to make, I have also had the line item "make duct tape wallet." What better way to bring in the new year than to create for arts sake. 

I made a ladies clutch style wallet using this tutorial from instructables.com as a basic style template. The only difference is that I added a clear window for my driver's license and a small change pocket attached to the money pocket fold with three small craft brads. When finished, I added a plastic flower from the sale craft bin and some polka dotted wash tape. So far it is holding up really well! But, I haven't been spendin' a whole lot lately. 

I got carried away and reupholstered an old blank sketchbook from college. The cover already had this cool reflective sticker and, for some reason, a label from some glitter rhinestone fake eyelashes. Those were the days. I covered the rest with pink duct tape as to not be reminded of old boyfriends whose names I wistfully scrawled and embellished with doodles much more interesting than the boys themselves.

This small project made me think back to a pinterest branding exercise that I did earlier during my Megan Aumen Creative Live Class. Tada! Whaddya know.... NEON.

I loved the 80's. I still do. I love big hair. I love a good black t-shirt (that's me on the right in this 22 year old photo). On occasion, I'm a sucker for a pale face, big eyebrows and humongous hoop earrings. But not mullets, sorry brother Brandon.

80shair