Tuesday, January 20, 2009


This is one of the proudest moments in this country's history.  Republican or Democrat, no matter the skin color or faith, we can all be proud that we have finally lived up to the promise of this country.

The future is bright.  The future is here.  Embrace it.

And now I must get back to work.  My table saw awaits.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Here Are the Cabinets: The Drawers of the World, Revisited

So, here are the cabinets I built for my friend, Clay. They are ugly, the drawers are scarred and weren't built for the hardware he wanted me to use, but they serve their purpose well. I'm sure Clay and I could stand on the top together without overtaxing the structure.

Clay is an artist and an art teacher. I'm sure he figures this unit will only get paint all over it anyway, so why bother making it look wonderful to start? He had the drawers and the top (an old door) in his possession already, he wanted the drawers to slide smoothly no matter what they looked like... This is the perfect work center for his purposes.

Thanks to Clay Roberts for these photos.

Friday, January 16, 2009

DSG: The Real Deal

I am a member of Design Style Guide. This is an Etsy Street Team, yes, but it is so much more than that. I have been contacted by clients to do projects for them, for cash, as a direct result of my membership in DSG. I'm not a cheerleader by nature, but this team is the real deal.

If you are an Etsy artist who builds or sells things usable to an interior decorator and you'd like more sales, please click on the banner above and join our team of highly motivated designers. We'd love to have you on board. We'd love to have you even if you aren't an Etsy artist.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Liz Ballard: Etsy Artist From Texas

Liz Ballard is a young woman who lives less than 30 miles from my home. She is a wonderful artist working out of Arlington, Texas, going to school and working full time. That all takes a lot of dedication and determination. My hat's off to her, if I ever wore a hat, that is. Anyway, here's her story...

1. What is your shop name and what do you sell? 

My shop name is LizardoArt and I sell original abstract paintings. My style is contemporary with tons of texture. I offer several different sizes ranging from ACEO to quite large. 

2. What is your shop URL? 


3. What long series of events led to you doing this? 

I didn't start painting until I was almost 25! I wanted something cool for my apartment and had little money so I took an idea from a design magazine and started working. I realized it was really fun so I began practicing on canvas paper. I knew I was on to something when I would start painting, look at the clock and realize it was almost 5 in the morning

4. When did you start selling on Etsy?

In the middle of October, 2008. So, about four months ago. 

5. What is your favorite thing about Etsy?

I love the community forums. I have learned so much about how to promote my business and take better pictures and all kinds of things I never knew before. I also like that it has a hip young vibe. 

6. What is your favorite thing about what you sell? 

I love that I notice different things about my paintings all the time. Even though I am the one that painted it, there are always times when I notice something I never noticed before. 

It's so much fun to create also. I love painting! It makes me so happy. 

7. Does living in Texas influence your work? If so, how? 

I may be inlfluenced by our crazy weather but I don't paint anything traditionally associated with Texas. No cows, ranches or anything like that. I don't listen to country music and I've never owned a pair of cowboy boots.

Wow!  I think you just described me perfectly.

8. What is your favorite item in your own shop and why?

I love Mica because the texture is so cool. It started out as something completely different and then I finally got it where I wanted it. The texture that built up as a result of that is just awesome! 

9. What teams do you belong to and what do you like most about them? 

Design Style Guide and Visual Artists Streat Team. I love that I have some support and a little bit of mentorship. Plus it's really cool to get a Treasury, then see it get hotter and hotter after alerting your teams. The advice and networking is great. Design Style Guide has some really cool things coming in the future and it's exciting to be a part of that. 

10. What is the most fun thing you do to promote your shop? 

Twitter. I was already on Facebook and Myspace all the time and I still have fun with that. I also like to be in shows in the area if I can. It's a lot of fun to meet people in person. 

11. What are some of your favorite finds by other sellers on Etsy? 

I think ImagineStudio has been one of my favorites lately. I seem to pick items from that store for every Treasury. I also love Shauniel's shop

12. What do you do in your spare time? 

I'm a full time college student right now and I bartend 30 hours a week so I am not quite sure what spare time is anymore. LOL. I love to try new restarurants and eat out. I like to do things I've never done before, listen to music, catch a show or a movie, go to downtown Dallas or Fort Worth and visit gallery openings and art museums. 

13. Do you have anything else you would like to share?

Thanks for checking out my shop. I really appreciate that!

You are very welcome!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What I've Been Doing

haven't posted here as often as I'd planned. For that I apologize, mostly to myself. My plan was to have something new here at least once per week, but that hasn't happened.

In October of last year I wrote a piece called "The Drawers of the World..." in which I discussed a job I had picked up building some cabinets for a garage workshop for a friend of mine. I had planned to finish that job and get moving on two other projects he wanted me to build, and have it all finished before the end of the year. Well, I delivered the cabinets last weekend.

A number of things happened, including being called to substitute teach more than anticipated at the beginning of a semester, taking care of my mother and grandmother when needed, the suicide of one of my son's classmates... it all adds up to the job taking longer than I wanted. The main problem, however, was me.

I should amend that last statement. The main problem was the intersection between me and the drawers I was using for this project. My friend, Clay, had these old drawers lying around taking up space and he asked if I could use them, all eight of them, in the design. I said I could, and that should have been that. He wanted me to use standard-issue side mounted drawer slides. He wasn't the least bit interested in having the cabinets look attractive so long as they were sturdy and functional. Again, I told him I could deliver what he wanted, and that should have been the end of the discussion.

I built the framework of the cabinets out of standard two by fours the keep the cost down and to provide a heavy, sturdy base for the workstation. I walled the cabinets in with half-inch birch plywood, giving one of them an extra, inner wall to support the narrower drawers on that side. I installed the hardware for the drawer slides inside the cabinets. I installed the mating hardware for the drawer slides on the drawers. And I cussed and pulled my hair for a couple of weeks.

What I didn't anticipate was the construction of the drawers themselves. We don't really know how old they are, but they were part of a built-in unit that was in the house when my friend, Clay, bought it. The house is around 70 years old so, for all we know, the drawers could be that old as well. However old they are the one thing that's certain is they were built without the use of a straight-edge. Or a square of any kind. It's possible they were built be someone on the verge of losing his sight but too embarrassed to admit it.

The drawers didn't fit. If they fit in the front, they didn't fit in the back. If they fit in the back they would fit in the front. The slides are designed to compensate for minor variations in size and I had taken that into account when I built the cabinets. I should have examined the drawers more closely before starting, but they were in a stack in the corner of my small shop and I just never thought to pull them all out.

One other thing: I don't have much experience with moving parts. It's a learning curve, and I'm gaining altitude, but when I started this project I really needed more experience with drawers than I had at the time. It took some down time to figure out exactly how to shim the drawer slide parts to make them fit because the space I left for myself was so tight, but I plowed on through to the end.

I finally finished the project and delivered it. Clay is very happy with it. And I will not turn down another project of it's kind. I will, however, remember the lessons I learned.

During the times I was scratching my head, trying to decide how to proceed, I worked on a few other projects, including the large and small cherry candle holders you see here, and which you can purchase at my Etsy shop if you so desire. There are no photos of the cabinets as of yet. The next time I'm at Clay's house I'll take a few pictures of them. While they were in my shop I really wasn't in the mood for photos. I wasn't in much of a mood to blog, either, as it turns out.