Wee Cottage Lane Christmas

Wee Cottage Lane  Christmas
by Laura Pallatin of LaBelle Mariposa

Sunday, May 27, 2012

just one more thing...

Have you ever look at a "finished" piece of art and think... I need to add just one more thing? Well, this was driving me crazy, so I unwrapped my gift and added a border. I think it really makes a big difference. Since I figured I'm not alone in this "one more thing" thinking, I thought I'd share. :)

The only difference is a line drawn around the outside. Because I want this sign to look handmade, I used tape just to get the line in a specific place, then I went over it with a thicker pen to add a little more wiggle and imperfection. It's one of those things that probably only I will notice, but I like it better.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Creativity has many forms

I've been blissfully busy working with my son, Steven, on his latest obsession... coming up with cowboy costumes for himself and his two best buddies. For several years, Steven has been invited to go to Columbia, California with one of his best buddy's family. He came home last year saying that he thought it would be cool to dress the part of the old west for the next year's reunion. So, for the last few weeks, we've been cruising thrift stores for the perfect hats, boots, shirts, pants, and vests to outfit Steven and his two buds. Here's a pic of Steven in his outfit:
He didn't want to look right at the camera... not cool. You'll also notice that he has a gun with holster on his right hip. That's a reproduction gun (good thing he had money saved up from Christmas.)

One of his buddies is wearing a Clint Eastwood inspired outfit, and the third sort of the muscle of the group and he's dressed all in black.

Hopefully, Steven's friend's mom will be able to get a nice picture of all three dressed up.

I gotta say, it was such a fun experience to do something like this with my son. We drove all over town, again and again, trying to find just the right pieces. During our time together I got to really enjoy his company. Having three kids means that I am rarely alone with any one of them. It was really neat. If you don't have a reason to be alone with your kids, I'd invent one. It's so worth it!

The other project I've been working on lately is a sign for our friend's new home. Ken and Ester lived across the street from us for many years. They are super nice and Ken is really into Bonsai gardening. Being super busy all the time prevented us from spending much time together. But, when they moved and got a new home with property they included us in their plans to have a housewarming party. They called their new home "The Roost" in honor of a favorite restaurant in Arizona.  I thought that was the perfect reason to make them this sign for their house.

Also, I just love making signs. I'm leaving it without hangers so they can hang it however they like.

So, although I haven't been creating art in the way that I usually do, I definitely feel that I've been very creative lately.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Just another day...

Today I'll be out in the glass studio for a bit getting samples ready for the June 9th class at Trezhers Gift Shop in Sacramento. Then, I'm off with my oldest son, Steven, to do some birthday shopping for the fair Jamie's 21st. Steven is also putting together a cowboy outfit for his annual trip to Columbia, CA with his best buddy's family over Memorial Day weekend. 

Okay, those are the fun and exciting parts of my day. Otherwise, I'll be doing laundry, cleaning house, and generally helping my sweetie out with any chores he needs done. Through all of this, I'll be following the advise in today's Inspirational Image. Because, losing my former hubby Joe suddenly this winter reminded me that we don't know how long we have with anyone. Time goes by very fast. Treasuring each day we have with the people we love, is vitally important to happiness. 

Blessings to you, today,
Laura P.
Treasure Every Moment of Your Life from Chapter 22, titled Present Moment Awareness

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Studio musings

I've been obsessed with the magazine, "Where Women Create" for a couple of years now. I just love seeing how the people (they have men, now) organize their creative spaces. When I first started reading it, there were lots of gals like me, trying to make a functional working space in the family dining room. The did amazing things with storage and made their little carved-out studio creative, beautiful, and functional! 

Well, when I returned home from my trip with mom to Mariposa for the Mariposa Butterfly Festival recently, I was shocked at the state of my own "studio." I was so focused on getting ready for the festival, I had begun to pile art supplies, reading materials, and other stuff just to make room to get things done.

In order to get my work place back into shape, I've decided to go through my older magazines and find some creative inspiration for making my own studio magazine-worthy. Then, I'm going to turn my attention to the other rooms of my home. I've been so busy being an entrepreneur, I haven't taken time to make our family's home the organized cozy place we can all enjoy more.

While I'm at it, I'll be selling off un-needed stuff in order to buy the new camera I've fallen in love with. So, you can look forward to some stunning images of my newly organized spaces. :)

Here's the Inspirational Image for today. I thought it would be fun to do something different. 
from Chapter 10 of Walk In Your Own Footsteps titled "Gossip"

Finally, I was accepted yesterday into KVIE's art auction! I'm so excited. The awards will be announced on August 1st. Wouldn't it be cool if my name was on that list? We'll see...
Monarch on California Poppy my painting which will be in the 2012 KVIE art action. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To self-publish or go with a publishing house?

This is a question many people are asking themselves these days. Self-publishing houses like Lulu.com offer writers more options than ever before. When I finished my book, Walk In Your Own Footsteps, I pondered this question almost obsessively. I wanted the best for my book, but I also wanted to maintain control of my project and I didn't want to wait the months most publishers require to get it into people's hands. I also was told that no publisher would want me if I'd self-published. 

So, I'll share how this has gone so far for me and let you know when new stuff happens with the book. First off, I spoke to my favorite niche publisher in my genre and was told that they are not against publishing books that have been already been self-published. In today's market, marketing a book falls in large part on the writer. Therefore, if you have the gumption to get the book out there with no backing, you're showing the publisher that you're willing to work hard to promote your book. Also, any connections I make while promoting my book on my own, will only help if I decide to go with a mainstream publisher later. I've been on 3 radio shows which I found through Help A Reporter Out. If you're promoting anything, I think being on this mailing list can be very helpful! I was also on a local public access television show. My mother took my book to a craft show and met the producer there. That interview experience was awesome! When I tell people that I self-published because I had a vision for my book and didn't want to hand it over for a publishing house's input, people really understand that. I've had no discrimination because I'm self published. I wrote a book and am sharing it with the world. That's the bottom line. 

Okay, that all being said, I have submitted my book to a mainstream publishing house that I feel would help me get my book into more hands. I still don't want to change the cover, or the primary content/style of my book. So, if they want me I'll have to work very closely with them to make sure my book remains the book I was inspired to write. I'm looking to partner with someone who will help me and I'll help them. I'm not showing up, hat in hand, hoping for a leg up. That's an important step for me. 

It is also vitally important that you know your genre. I understand that romance books only stay on the shelves for a few weeks, even when published with a big house. So, getting your book out there first, might not be a good idea for a romance writer. Each genre will have it's own considerations. 

Admittedly, there is no big advance when you self-publish, but much more of the proceeds of your hard work go into your pocket. As with anything else in life, weighing the pros and cons is a little tough because they don't necessarily weigh equally.

If you've gone through the effort to create a book, and want to share it with the world, I feel that self-publishing is a valid path to achieving your goal. The most important part is that you feel you've made the right choice for you and your work. Weighing your options, taking input from people who know, then following your own instincts is probably the best way to know. Because, ultimately, it's up to you... the writer... to choose your best publishing path.

Laura P.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


It's a strange combination... artist and author. Both require me to promote my own work. Both require a dedication to my craft that means I need to, dare I say it, discipline myself in order to get things finished. Yet they really aren't the same thing. I find myself working on art stuff then switching gears to work on book promotion. I'm very passionate about both. Helping people live happier, emotionally healthier, lives is the goal of my book. And art is just fun! I love seeing people's faces light up when they see my impossibly large butterflies.

On the art front, I've submitted the following images for showing in my community. The swirly one is titled: Unity to Share 1. I created a similar image some time ago and it is one of my favorites. Since I don't want to part with the first one, and it's a popular pendant image, I decided to do a series of these. Each one will be different, of course, this is number one. I submitted it to the Kennedy Gallery who will be doing a "Pride" exhibit during June in Sacramento. Fingers crossed on this one as I'd love to be a part of the exhibit.
Unity to Share 1 8x8  acrylic on canvas

Monarch on Poppy 16x16 acrylic on canvas
The large butterfly on a poppy I submitted to the KVIE art auction. I checked out their web site and there is nothing like my work in their previous years. I don't know if that's good or bad... or neither. It is 16" by 16". Getting into this art auction would be very cool. I love PBS!
Part of my work with my book is creating Inspirational Images. The one I put together for today is from Chapter 9, Friendship:

Since I spend so much time working on marketing, I thought it would be helpful to set up a website with links to some resources for fellow creatives. My plan is to use the domain www.CreativesMarketingResources.com. If you have an article you've written, a link to a great site, or helpful blog posts, send them to me! I'd love to get this project started. Cause... that's what I need! A new project! 

And then, of course, I'm just a little obsessed with acquiring a truck that I can use to haul all my stuff around and paint butterflies and flowers all over it!  A traveling, happy, bright, fantastic TRUCK!!

I hope you're enjoying your work as much as I do!

Laura P

Monday, May 7, 2012

Back home again

The weekend spent in Mariposa for the Mariposa Butterfly Festival was a total blast! My mom, Maralee Lowder, is one of my very best friends! And, we haven't had a weekend to hang out alone since I was pregnant with my almost 21 year old daughter, Rachel (on the very best friend list, too!) Since my business name is LaBelle Mariposa, it was the perfect place for me. Usually, I'm known as the "Butterfly Lady." That didn't come up once, in spite of the fact that I wore a ridiculous hat all weekend which was covered in flowers and had butterflies fluttering around my head on wire! (photos to follow)

I also met some amazing people from a recovery house in the area who are interested in using my book, Walk In Your Own Footsteps, to help people with their recovery. I'm so thrilled! This is exactly why I wrote the book and I'm gob-stopped to think it's actually coming to fruition. It just shows that we don't always know how things will work out.

Now that I'm home, I'm thinking of many fun projects I'd like to work on. It would be nice to take a few days and do nothing but house and art for fun. I've been very drawn to the art of "Dia De Los Muertos" lately. A couple of years ago I created an altar which I call my  "Altared Dia De Los Muertos Book." Sorry for the play on words…. I like it. :) 

I think altered books are such fun, and having a tiny day of the dead altar in my studio makes me smile. Enjoy. 

Day of the Dead "Altared" Book cover

Day of the Dead "Altared" book inside
Steps I used to create this piece:  I glued all the pages together then carved out the altar part. I then painted the whole book black and used a gold paint pen to paint the ends of the pages gold. The background is gold paper from a scrap-book store. I used pictures of contributors to an 1800’s dictionary to be my honored people. I hand-sculpted and painted all the skulls, food, and the candle. The tiny doves are from the center of a sand dollar. I took apart a crochet doily for the front rose and the pink trim around the altar. The rest is bits of crochet and some pieces of jewelry.