Wednesday, October 31

Interwebz Overshare: Happiness loan

This image is from sometime in 2010. I have been looking over older paintings of mine because I like to have a clear direction in my painting. If I don't know what I am working toward, then I don't paint well. This becomes a problem when I have a huge event like a show, and it zaps me all up. I have to learn to become a painter again. Sounds crazy right!

Speaking of sounding crazy. I just had a conversation with O tonight I thought you guys would find interesting. 

Me: I am super duper stressed out. I don't know why, but everything in my life feels like a chore, and just thinking about the next day, and interminable night where I will get spotty sleep makes my throat feel closed up and I can't breath!

O: Ok, you either need to zone out and re-spawn, or you need to really focus, get down into it and commit yourself. You have to just think good thoughts. You have to get down, and do it, and work...

Me: Total melt down. How can I do anything when I feel like I am drowning? How can I work harder?

O: I am trying to help! What do you want from me? I don't know what to do for you, its limbo!

Me: I am to express exactly what I need? Wait, what do I need? Suddenly I see it... 
I need a happiness loan. Thats what I need, a 0% down happiness loan. I will feel shitty for a bit, but you counter that with smiles, love, hugs, kisses even though I won't initiate the happy-fun-time-goofy-playtime at home. Help me remember to have fun, even when I am gloomy. Bring laughter and lightheartedness into my depths of despair. Then I proceeded to offer concreate examples of what he could have done that evening that would have been helpful. Do you have to be super technical with your man? I mean, like with outlines and triangle graphs? Cuz that is how O understands, I have to make a clear-headed point and offer solutions and time frames. If I am freaking my shit out, then he shuts down.

I felt really selfish saying this. I mean, I basically said "I am going to be shitty, but you can't be shitty. You have to be strong for both of us for a little bit. I need to lean on you." But then I remembered that when you are in a team, sometimes you lead, and sometimes you lean. And if he said the same thing to me I would totally do it, no problem. And more importantly I would not get second-hand stress as easily because I had a plan to follow.

This reminds me also, that the most important thing when I am feeling overwhelmed, is to take the situation into control, even just by defining it. Also, let me just say that this is your common cold variety stress and upset. This ain't SARS stress, and O and I are as usual effective communicators, and fundamentally happy people.

1. Pinpoint what you need from him (or another person in your life, anyone). Together you can create an environment where you can calm down, and figure out how to solve your problem. I have to use visualization. When I saw myself unhappy, I saw O hugging me, smiling, and making me smile too. I felt soothed just by seeing it in my mind.

2. Offer a concreate example. I said "If we have plans for something fun after work, don't abandon them if I am low energy. Take control instead of defaulting to me." or "I need you to hug me a lot, and no funny business."

3. If you recognize that you need something more from him (for me it will involve a chart detailing dog duties, and other chores. Potentially involving gold stars), then clearly outline those as well later when you have had time to outline some tools to help you feel better.

4. Set a timeline for results. I want to be sleeping better in one week. I want to feel more calm in the evenings and I want to do three enjoyable things a week after work within one month. (Very important: visualize, or have a very specific example in your mind as your goal. Mine is that I will be sleepy at night, with no thoughts in my mind, and I will take pleasure in O's company, and I will know that feeling in my gut, and my heart.)  I also want to have a written down series of helpful activities to turn to when I get my ass cheeks in a wad next time. Do you loose the ability to remember basic things when you are under stress? I sometimes can't remember how to drive home.

5. Stop thinking about it. I wrote my goals down. I have a plan. Now I can just take a hot bath, or anything else that will symbolize moving on from that low point.

I mean, you can't rationally address your problems with a hope of crafting a solution if you can't be rational right? So these steps will help us calm down, and then we can work on changing our perspective, or eliminating some stressors that are toxic. You get the drift.

* Coco can tell when I am upset. She hears it in my voice, and she knows her sweet love will heal me. She stops, spots me, comes over fast, insists on getting in my lap and licks me all over. She does it every time.

How do you communicate with your loved ones when you are past your limits? Do you have a plan of action that you turn to? Any advice? I would love to know how you think about this, and how you approach communicating clearly in the midst of a middle school style hissy-fit? hmmmm?

Wow, this post seems so silly today. I can't believe the amount of devastation Sandy brought. That is SARS stress for sure.

Tomorrow I show you the afters of our swamp pit!

Monday, October 29


I am compiling some posts to show you guys the last bits of the remodel years we have finally (almost) completed. Anyway, I found some old images of our house! Fun times.

Our first time looking at our house. Icky paint, messed up mortar work on the brick pillars, 100 year old windows, 100 year old wood work up top, and "squirrel private entrance" as my dad liked to refer to those chewed out holes in the grill. In other words: hot.

This was the yard the first time we saw the house. Three very loud dogs live on the other side of that broken down fence. Yes that is a blue sheet metal scrap "patching" up the fence.

That awesome plywood shed has a sign on it that reads: Raw Dawg. Awesome. Actually Ed, or Sanford and Sons, as we affectionately call him, is a wonderful neighbor. I just love him.

Remember our old kitchen? It looks like this now. Also this hot mess:

Ok. Man, I feel good now that I see these pictures, I have been working my arse off on this house!
But this is the coop des grasse (really get that southern accent in there):

Just wait till you see what we did with this swamp pit. I can't wait to show you! So stay tuned.

Fuzzy Pictures

Thank you! to everyone who came out to my show on Friday (running until mid November btw). It was so cool to meet all of you, especially those of you who follow this blog. I was so embarrassed to meet you face to face, b/c naturally you know all about me.
Right at the start! Before my face started to hurt from perma-smile. Jess, your makeup is so cute! 
The gallery is super cute. I promise to show actually images as soon as I get them.

I wore my favorite Valentino (sale!) shoes all night. They have such a reasonable heel, and the cage design is comfy and easy to wear. I want to have babies with these shoes.

After the fun, a bunch of lovers went out for a super fancy dinner. That giant steak was killer for breakfast.

My cute sister.
At the moment, I just have crappy iphone pics. Still waiting on peeps to email me the goods (who knows!). Anyway, sorry Jessica that I posted an eyes closed image, but this way everyone gets to see your cute makeup.

Ok, the winner, (chosen at random!) for the Antonia Print is....
Julie DeMarco!

Email me Julie ( so we can get you your print.
Reminder that my sale ends tonight, at midnight. Spooky.

Thursday, October 25

Lucky me!

Best friends are the best. Especially my soul sistah Jane. She sent me flowers to say she was with me in spirit this weekend, and to remind me that she loves me. I love you too Janey! Aren't they beautiful? And so on trend right now with the color scheme.

 I love getting flowers, don't you? The first time ever was for my 15th birthday, my mom had a dozen huge roses delivered on my birthday morning. I felt so special, and I think of that every time I see huge red roses. She also sent me flowers for my 21 birthday when I was living in Spain, it was an enormous arrangement full of birds of paradise. Stunning, and so sweet.

I personally just love sending flowers. I like to use a local florist to the recipient (as does Jane, she used a local florist near me). I think the best arrangements are just like this one: small and tasteful, with a striking, yet simple color scheme. I send flowers when I can't make an important event, or to celebrate something special, but unexpected is fun too. Like the time my boyfriend (a million years ago) sent me flowers at work because I had finally decided to quit that much hated job. I had to hide the note that came with it!

P.S. I hope to meet some of my internet friends tomorrow night at the opening reception for my show. I counted 55 paintings will be hanging. I am pretty sure the tradition is one shot per painting right? So who's gonna do 55 shots with me?

Tuesday, October 23

2013 Calendars!

Two things:

1. The 2013 Calendar is available now! It features my Cleopatra painting (hello sexy).

2. You can enter to win a framed Antonia print (seen here held sideways, proving that you can turn them any which way!) All you need to do is follow my facebook page, and twitter.

Ok, I lied, three things: Be sure to sign up to my newsletter to get special deals and savings. Like, say maybe 20% off of our new Giclee canvas prints (totally in the studio and ready to ship!, discount code: GICLEE1012 or 15% off of anything in the store (discount code: FIFTEEN).

But thats the last time I am sharing a discount on this blog that is intended for newsletter subscribers, so do yourself a favor and sign up here!

Monday, October 22


Everyone matches their table setting to their paintings right? Hmm.. this makes me think I need to make placemats! Right?

Thursday, October 18


This is the advice I would give my younger self if I could float down to her from the future like a cool as shit angel. All make-up and high heals, jewelry and leather and nail polish. "Hey kid. Just quit giving a fuck fiddlesticks what anyone else thinks of you, and do what you love and put down that third piece of pizza, there is no rush, pizza ain't going anywhere...Oh yeah! I almost forgot, you will drive your car into the garage door, and it won't be a big deal, so don't piss yourself."

Other facts:
1. I love cozy, overcast days b/c it feels like the world is taking a nap, and not watching me. So its kinda like a free day.

2. Skinny chicks with big boobs: no fair.

3. I'm kind of obsessed with adding jewelry to my watch list on eBay, and never buying it.

4. I read an old diary of mine last night, from my teens, it made me chuckle. I was a tiny bit melodramatic. I wrote about my future so much back then, I wanted sooo badly to be living a life that felt good in my heart, and I also kinda always knew I would. I'll tell you, (what my mother said a billion times when I was growing up), you couldn't pay me to be a teenager again. Shit is hard. I'll take stubborn arm fat over teenage anxiety any day.

Wednesday, October 17

Meet Carly!

Meet Carly, my new studio manager (you know I cringe at the word "assistant" so I had to come up with a title we could both stand :) She is in charge of running the studio (stuff like making sure we have canvases, and researching things, and shipping stuff to you!) I met her last year, when she came with Jessica Swift to a Christmas party I threw. I thought of her when I realized that I needed to hire someone, and she eventually made her way here. 

I really wanted to have someone who also had an art business of her own. I figured that it would help her understand my perspective as a tiny business owner in the arts, and also I love the double creative energy. I asked her a few questions about her huge leap from corporate job to making it on her own cuz I thought you guys would want to know more about that. So read on to learn more about Carly. Go ahead, ask her a question if you want to. 

My marms and I on the first day of Printsource.
Hi, I'm Carly. I left the corporate world a couple of weeks ago - September 28 to be exact. Yep.  Holy hell, who leaves a job in this economy and goes out on their own? I do, apparently.

Now, I find myself here living the dream, working for Michelle part time and, getting to do my own thing - surface pattern design, a true passion of mine. This is a huge transition for me. I never saw myself really as a corporate american workaholic. Now, I'm planning out how to make this pattern business a full-fledged success story, and I'll be coming back to share my ups and downs with you too.

What kind of patterns do you make? What are your future business plans?

I've always had a knack for  patterns/textile design and interior design. I decided a couple of years ago that it would be a dream of mine to have my own line of patterns. I guess it was in the cards for me to take this path as I got the opportunity to work side by side with renowned pattern designer, Jessica Swift. She taught me the ins and outs of the pattern biz and helped me get up to gear for my first trade show last July at Printsource in NY. The show was a huge success and that is exactly what gave me the assurance I needed to take the risk of going out on my own. Before that, I wasn't really confident I could make it on my own but I am so happy I did. Now that I'm out of corporate America, I plan on continuing to build on my portofolio and participate in more shows, fulfilling my dream of working for myself, and learning from Michelle as I go along.  

Over the next year, my plan is to triple my inventory of patterns. Having a date and putting the investment into a trade show is something that will not allow for wasting time and keep me on track.  It's also the best way, I think, to market myself and get a feel for what buyers think of my work.
So that’s what’s in the cards for the next 6 months or so – buckling down and doing more patterns. Long term, I’d really like to have my own full-fledged brand focusing my patterns on designs for home textiles. I mean, can I please have some rugs at ABC Carpet or West Elm or something of the sort? I’m focusing this time on putting together a calendar for the next year on how I can better market my work and promote myself to home d├ęcor buyers. 

What made you think "this is time for a change?" 

I've been dreaming of leaving the corporate world forever! I've never thought of myself as a corporate biz lady. Never, ever.  But, of course after graduating college I always thought that was the 'practical' way of making a living. You know? What else are you going to do right out of college? Get experience  - and I did just that. I had many of good and bad experiences out in the real world but there's always been something in me that has been working against my 9-5 routine.  It took oh, ten years of that feeling to finally take the leap. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt though, this is the path I'm meant to go down. Every change is scary and a learning experience but what's the worst that can happen? (as Michelle once quoted!)...I have to go out and get another desk job or work in retail.  Eh, it's not so bad.

The corporate world felt almost suffocating to me. I have some friends that are so focused on their careers in these big companies and I've never really understood it. Something about it feels too rigid for me and I'm not a huge competitor either.  I don't have a drive to be CEO of some huge brand; I have a drive to be doing creative projects and succeed at that. I'm hoping to gain more confidence in my design career and most importantly, to have better peace of mind knowing I'm following my heart once and for all. Don't get me wrong, I'd never take back all that I learned while in it, the corporate world just wasn't who I truly am.  Now, I feel like I'm on the right path, doing what I want and I'm determined to get there, fully supporting myself one day.

Jessica and I on her last day in Atlanta...sniff

Alright, lets talk logistics. HOW did you do it?

I know everyone wants to know ‘how did you do it? How are you managing being on your own?’. This decision was a hard one for me but it almost happened in a way that I was literally just about pushed out the door of my full time job and I really was just kind of led here. It felt like the universe was trying to tell me something. Last summer my job asked me to move to LA. I was absolutely torn. I had a great opportunity to go live and work in Santa Monica but I was soooo unhappy with my work. How many people can relate? Do I move cross country and live on the West Coast like I’ve dreamed of or lose my job and start working part time while trying to grow my own business which I’ve also dreamed of? I literally thought about what to do for a month. Sometime in between then (timing is crazy, right?) I connected with Michelle and this opportunity arose. Of course I wanted to work for her, but I knew I was giving up an opportunity to live in Cali, not to mention a steady job with benefits. So, I sat down and figured out exactly how much I would need to make and how much my own health insurance would cost me. I knew I was scared to death of declining a full time job in this economy, but a bigger voice in me told me it's time to get out...and get on with your life…and take care of myself and my happiness/health! And that is how it happened. I told them I wouldn't move and the minute I did, I was anxious but also extremely, extremely relieved. 

Since I declined to move to LA, I had 2 months left of working with this firm and then it was time to get started with Michelle and my pattern biz. I had friends who were entrepreneurs and making their way living happily throughout the past few years and I knew there must be a way to do that myself. I knew I could do this and I'm slowly figuring it out as I go. Obviously the best advice I received from family and friends was to save, save, save your money. Since I knew 2 months ago that I was leaving my job, I started saving up as much as I possibly could. Just in these past two weeks though, I've learned that you really don't need that much to get by. Yes, I truly miss retail therapy. It's hard. It's sort of a like a major withdrawal but I know I'm not permanently banned from shopping. I’m doing just fine without that old direct deposit so far and I know I’ll be hitting up Nordy’s again one day soon!

Painting a pattern inspired by Madeline Weinrib.

Yes, yes. But how does it feeeeel?

So far I feel like it's not even fair what I'm doing because I'm so happy to be free of my desk job and doing things that I love every day. I love that I'm able to take care of myself again by going to the gym super early, getting better sleep and eating so much healthier. It's amazing how stress can sabotage your health and the habits that come along with it. There certainly are those thrilling moments I know it’s been totally worth the risk - when I’m driving across town to Michelle’s a 11:30 in the morning and I’ve had a great workout and time to relax in the morning and a good night of sleep where I wasn’t up at 2:30 am checking my phone for emails from our firm’s offices on the other side of the world. Those days are over. Then I get to come home and work on planning my next pattern show.
Of course, I don’t think change – especially one like this – comes without fear. I do fear not being able to make it financially and that is probably what holds most of us back. Let me take this moment to mention that I have anotherpart time job pending in the corporate world that I may take for some time to hold me over for awhile. So while I may sound like I’ve had this all planned out and it will be smooth sailing from here, I know there will be some financial strain until the patterns start really taking off (and I’m confident they will.) 

My 3-legged love, Peggy.

I love this quote by Steve Jobs:  

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” 

Mmmhmm. I lovee my patterns, and that 3-legged chihuahua.

Tuesday, October 16

NannyNanny BooBoo

I never seem to make it to Herriotts store in time to snap up some of her hand made wooden (made by her amazing father!) bowls and boards, tools, all kinds of awesomeness. Most things are sold out, but this time I got the last rustic cutting board. Keep checking back, if you want to see more, and maybe snap one up. I have been following her blog for years. I can't believe I finally got one. I kinda feel like bowing.


Next time, a bowl. How stunning are they? I am going to pretend that I bought it to serve cheese at a the table for brunch and such, but I will probably be eating cheese alone in the dark after work one night. Cuz thats how cheese and I roll.

Monday, October 15

Lazing around the house

We spent the whole weekend at home, and finished up a few projects around the house that we really needed to do. Like water seal our deck, and do some planning, and O even helped me make wire frames for our new website! I hope it will be ready in a few months, so excited. It has an editorial style layout (I can't stop my graphic designer brain sometimes), and have tutorials, and product images that are very beautiful, and styled. I am so excited for you guys to see it!)

I am sitting there right now. Remember my chairs? So comfy

I was kind of obsessed with Houdini when I was a kid. I got this super cool book while I was in NYC last May at the Jewish Museum.

Thats my chair, I always go right to it, it has great neck support. 

Saturday night I was just lazing around and the lights were dim, and candles lit. It was super cozy.

I noticed that I like seeing little compositions of things around the house. Furniture that seems to fit together, or the ends of rugs creating a kind of abstract on the floor when I walk around the sofa. I love seeing our cozy parlor when I walk out of the bedroom, and stacks of books all over the place. So much better than a perfectly styled, everything in it's place home, for me at least.

This rugs looks so nice in O's man cave, with it's deep green walls.
Its a gloomy day here (and the rain water is beading nicely on the deck, thankyouverymuch) all the better to get to work, and paint like crazy. I never got my things framed, I can't seem to find exactly what I am looking for. I suspect I have to dig a bit deeper. Anyone know of a top notch framer in Atlanta? (please don't say Sam Flax, I need much better frame selection than they offer.)

Friday, October 12

Thank the lawrdy it be Friday y'all!

Like everyone else on the internet, this image has really inspired me. Mary seems really awesome doesn't she? I mean, taste, talent, cute as a button. I admit to being insanely jealous that she gets to live in NYC, in the west village; my spiritual home. 

 I have been telling O that I want to remake our bedroom, and I already knew that I wanted to paint it white, and hang a lot of art, (we have so many walls in there! Surprisingly hard to find large walls in our home, except for the bedrooms). So anyway, I am headed to the framer this weekend with a stack of things to frame that I have been collecting over the last few months, and even something I bought in Rome 10 years ago that I just found! I can't wait to show you guys how it all turns out.

Any good recommendations on the perfect white paint? I know my friend Katie would say Decorator White by BM. Do you think it would be tricky to do some simple square moulding like that? I bet not, except I am so bad at math.

I even bought one of those tall stacky book dealies! I have been meaning to for a while now.

Thursday, October 11

October 26th, 2012

Hiay. You know, I am having somuchfun re-connecting with blogs and bloggers now that I have made a commitment to it. I missed you! On another note If you are in Atlanta, or near by, I would truly love to meet you at my upcoming solo show at Gregg Irby Fine Art.

Michelle Armas: Solo Show
Preview Party: Oct. 26th, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Show runs through Nov. 15th

Gregg Irby Fine Art            3725 Powers Ferry Rd, Bdg A            Atlanta, GA 30342             404-941-9787                  

As I am sure you know, all of the pieces in the show will be new and original, and only available there. I have been painting so hard these past few months, there will be around 35 new pieces (maybe more? I don't know, I lost count :) Ok, thats it for me, I gott get back to painting now.

Wednesday, October 10



Personally, I am happy that maroon is having a come back b/c it looks rather good on me. But I do have a particular memory of our maroon saturn station wagon when I was a kid, you know the fuzzy kind of dreamy memory from when you were small. Anyway, my mom is in the passengers seat, big 80's frizzy fro flapping in the wind, dad is sporting a full beard since he decided to grow one on his recent work trip to Germany and is trying to concentrate on finding a place to pull over b/c my brother and I are issuing dire warnings about how green our sister Linette is looking. I remember how strong my mom's perfume was, it permeated the car and with the Texas sun beating down, and the fumes and my tendency to get car sick...forget it, I fucking hate maroon, and station wagons...but I still like fros.

Tuesday, October 9

Hair cuff

I bought one! I can't way to sexify my pony.

here and here

Monday, October 8

Girl Crush

I want to introduce you to my friend Jessica Durrant. I met her a few years ago when she became a part of a group of artists, illustrators and designers that I belong to as well. We quickly became friends, and I have had so much fun watching her star rise higher and higher. We share a fascination with art, especially painting and fashion, as well as the irresistible allure of travel, and having adventures! She is going to fulfill a lifelong dream this fall and travel to Australia, so bonkers.

Jess lives here in Atlanta, so I am super lucky to get to hang out with her a lot! She works at home, with her sweet doggy Chloe (who likes to take doggy bubble baths, for real), and her husband Morgan. As you can see, she is beautiful inside and out. Eye roll for cheezyness, I know, but its true! She is a loyal, honest and genuine friend who also tells the funniest raunchy jokes when you least expect it. I think the world is lucky to have her, and her passion for painting. Exuding positivity and sunshine, she has created her dream job and life, and I am lucky to have her ear when I need it, as well as her advice. So read on to learn a bit more about her, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments section.

Cherry Blossom Tree

1. Describe yourself in 5 words. 
 Goofy, daydreamer, laid back, down-to-earth, creative

3.  Your next travel venture is... 
Australia! I am so excited to go to a place that seems so utterly faraway and surreal.

4.  If you were a Disney princess, what would your story be? 
It would involve a princess establishing her self-worth not based on what others think of her. It would be the most feminist thing Disney has seen, haha!
5. Has your work always been about fashion?  
I’ve always been intensely interested in fashion as an art form. But I also love to paint landscapes and work related to my love of travel.

6. Favorite thing about being a teacher? 
When a student creates something that they are happily surprised by how good it turned out. Love those moments.
7. Someone writes a bio on you. What is the title? 
Expect the Unexpected

8. You could live off of...
Caffeine, chocolate, fashion magazines and music.
9. Everyone's got a 'hoarder' in them. What do you collect? 
Oh, that’s easy-makeup. My bathroom is dripping with makeup in every drawer.

10. When you were mini, you wanted to be....
When I was little I wanted to be like Peter Pan and never grow up. It was hard for me to imagine an adult version of myself. I was too focused on the present of being a kid. But I did know how much joy drawing brought into my life.
 11. What was your first job? 
I worked in an office for a construction company in Las Vegas. My boss was a great first boss. All he cared about was what casino buffet he was dining at next. He burped under his breath a lot!
12. What's on your wish list? 
On the hunt for a house. Ready for a backyard!

13. What do you wish someone had told you when you first started selling art online?
Make sure your art is photographed or scanned in high quality. Crummy pictures won't sell your work. Also, its only natural to make mistakes when you first start. Don't beat yourself up over them, lean from them and use it as a stepping stone to get better.

14. What is the biggest hurdle you have had, and how did you overcome it? or are overcoming it?
I think in the beginning when things wer slower, part of me questioned if this was just a silly dream that might not ever come true. You hear form everyone that you can't make a living as an artist. You have to have faith in your future and dreams. Don't give up when things get hard, or you face stuggles. Giving up is for pansies. Just go for it!

15. Describe your first really big feeling of accomplishment, like "hey, I am really doing this!" moment.
There have been a lot of sweet and happy moments, all of which I am so grateful for. Getting my art into publications I respect across the globe has been so surreal! Elle Brazil, Living ect, IN London, Country Living- it was just amazing to me that I created something in my little humble studio that people around the world were embracing and sharing. 

If you want to know more about Jessica, check out her blog. She shares her stuggles and her successes with her very disarming tone of humility and genuine personal strength with a hearty dose of funny thrown in. 

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