Saturday, March 29, 2014

Needing Some Left-Brained Advice, Here

Hello friends.  Tax time is upon me, and here I sit, with nary a record of my business dealings, other than folders full of receipts and a hodgepodge of  saved emails meant to remind me of this transaction or that.  It's not that I am dumb, really, just more inclined to follow an organic path than a highly ordered one.

So then - totally intending to find my responsibility groove, I looked up and downloaded Quicken, the simplest version, only to learn that it is not really supposed to be used for business records, and does not work well at all for that.  I mean, I know how to go the longhand route with a paper spreadsheet and pencil (and in my case, a big eraser), but that method, though it can get the job done, is really pretty time consuming.  I was hoping for something that might be able to read my mind just a little, and at least shuffle dates of transactions into their rightful place.  What I got was a composium of ALL of the family bank accounts, business and other, neatly bundled together and working themselves into impressive looking pie charts that had little to no bearing on reality.  I tried creating an external "cash" account, thinking I was a genius, only to find that all the computations came out in red, and subtracted themselves from the bottom line of my  neat bundle of unrelated accounts.  Sheesh!

So next - I returned to the web search and found the real Quick Books, free trial version.  At last, a program truly made for small businesses.  It claimed to be "simple" - no accounting training needed.  Oh yeah?  Really?  Hmm.  Obviously, I have not had success with that one either.  Therefore, for the past year's taxes, I will do my best to scour my half-hearted files, and scrawl out lists of expenses and income in various tax-friendly categories on paper, tally them up with my trusty adding machine and let our kindly tax preparer sort them out, bless his number-crunching heart.

So now -  I am hoping and sincerely asking for your input regarding how a decidedly right-brained person such as myself might be able to cope on an ongoing basis with the record-keeping scenario, and have a less frantic-feeling experience come tax time next year. It's still somewhat early in the year, and I'm hoping I can get caught up and on track for reals. Any ideas?  Can anyone relate?  Your gracious input is most highly appreciated.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Thank you, Joanne Livingston of Desertmountainbear

For the longest time, I have wanted to try making open/close eyes for a bear.  Joanne Livingston of Desertmountainbear has been not only a fantastic artist, but a very generous soul as well, by sharing her observations of real bears and her techniques for making her amazingly realistic creations.  Here is her tutorial that got me inspired.  At first, I couldn't wrap my head around the concept, but after a bit of head-scratching, I was able to basically figure it out.  I have not achieved perfection, but I'm super happy I've gotten started.  At this point, I don't particularly want to make realistic bears, but I want to make fanciful creations that have the look of life.  Learning about how realistic bears are made is helping me form and accomplish my vision.

I'm curious, what type of bears do you prefer to collect - more realistic ones, or more toy-like ones? Post a comment and lets find out what kinds are the favorites. If you are reading this from within my website, you'll need to go to my actual blog to make your post.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Best Wishes to all of my friends, family and collectors.  May the coming year bring you peace and contentment down in your soul, and joy that overflows into the lives of others.

For me, 2013 was a year of momentum in establishing my  presence as a credible artist in my community with the Open Studios Art Tour in October, and reaching toward more collectors with my new website for Fool's Gold Bears. This year, I've been inspired to create more than I have for years, and as 2014 unfolds, I look forward to continued inspiration and productivity.  I'm eager to see what new creative vistas will open up before me, what new friendships I'll make, and how existing ones will flourish and grow. My wish/prayer/goal for the coming year is to see my future art studio take form, from paper to reality.

This photo is of Mr. Huggins - a large and hefty lap-sitter who also happens to be my entry in the 2014 TOBY Awards competition.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Happy Announcement!


 I am happy to announce that the brand new Fool's Gold Bears website is now ready and it is live - and it is in time for your Holiday shopping.  You will find about a dozen creations on the site, many of which have not been available until this moment. They may be adopted right from the website through PayPal.  You do not need to have a PayPal account to use the service. PayPal will accept your credit cards. Another valuable feature of PayPal is their "Bill Me Later" payment option, where you can receive your purchases immediately, but have up to 6 months to pay for them. New creations will be added to my website on an ongoing basis, so check back often.  New items will continue to be posted on BearPile from time to time as well.

Here it is - Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Next Step for Fool's Gold Bears

Something wonderful happened at the Open Studios Art Tour that I hosted at my studio in October this year.  I met a talented husband and wife team who work together to make websites that are a cut above in function and beauty from most I've seen .  Their company is AzureFire llc .

Lucky me, I've been working with them and will soon be launching a new website for Fool's Gold Bears.  It will be ready this month.  

Because I want this opening to be special, I've been saving up my creations to be released  in celebration of this special event.  Here are a few teasers to pique your interest.  

These are just a few of the new creations that you will meet when the new site is ready.  I'll be sure to let you know as soon as the new site is live.

Your comments and questions are warmly welcomed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Where the heck have I been?

Hi Folks.  Sorry about the lag in posting.  I was sick for a while, but feeling quite a lot better now.  This weekend and next weekend, I'm hosting an Open Studio at my house.  It is a thrill to be involved in the art community in my county.  If there are any bears left after the tour is over, I'll put them up on BearPile.  I hope to see some of you this weekend or next.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Springing Forward

Today is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time here in California.  The old reminder to "spring forward" by resetting the clock forward an hour has me eager to spring into warmer weather.  Today my hubby, Vic and I got just a taste of spring warmth as we ventured into our back yard to pull a few weeds and do some general upkeep under deceptively sunny skies.  Goosebumps aside, it felt good to get some stuff accomplished out there. Our labors resulted in a hint of renewal and now I feel assured that Spring is on its way.

For the past few months, I've had the ol' messy studio blues, and have not been very productive in my small-bedroom creative space.  Ya see, over the years I have accrued a hearty plethora of tools and supplies that have aided and comforted my artsy heart.  When the moving truck hauled my booty (ha!) down to the more southern reaches of the state a couple of years ago, the capacious studio I once had was sacrificed in lieu of wedded bliss.  I'm not saying the honeymoon is over, but this little room is feeling a bit cramped, as more and more of the beloved supplies make their way from the storage unit across town to my itty-bitty studio-ette.  It has come to the point where my craft room resembles one of those square puzzle games I used to have as a kid (pre-rubik's cube) - the kind where you slide rows and rows of squares around to get the numbers into order.  No matter what task I need to do in my room, it requires shuffling stacks of totes filled with potential creative components.  I am entertaining some very sincere hopes (amid promises) of a new, improved studio to come.  Patience, Laure, patience.  Overcoming the obstacles, literally, I've managed to produce a new bear who, with his calm demeanor, does not seem to mind all the chaos here.  I'm pleased to introduce to you, Sweet Mo-Mo Ruffles.

Mo-Mo is 17 inches of lovingly-aged sweetness.  You can see his details here on BearPile, and while you're at it, how about liking him on my Fool's Gold Bears page on Facebook too.