I love just reading through, copy/pasting the urls and seeing where they lead. I held the giveaway, first of all, because I thought we were due for one. And secondly, because I really wanted to pick the brains of my readers. Tara Frey's awesome book (Blogging for Bliss) got me thinking of it. Speaking of....I hope everyone went out and bought it! What an amazing book! She did a phenomenal job. I don't have the time to do a full-on book review right here and I don't need to...that book is gonna sell huge no matter what. I just wanted to mention what a diverse spectrum of blogs Tara's book covers but yet it's so utterly cohesive! Just like all the top threes that you guys listed...All so different but they all connect in some way or another. And do you know what the connection is? Do you know what makes Tara's book work so well? Do you know what makes this blog... and your favorite blogs work? Do you know what keeps 'em runnin'? (And please don't take this in a corny way) ... but the answer is: YOU! I'll explain a bit further
I just love this medium, this artform, this means of communication. So many of you who are reading this, also write a blog of your own...and you have readers who are also bloggers and so on and so on and so on. I feel like this world that we're all a part of is like the least pretentious of all. But first, before I go further down this road I have to address a truism or two. There's always been the cliche of "my online friends". Daughters roll their eyes at their mom's for having "online friends" and mom's roll their eyes at their daughters for having "online friends"... it's a cliche as old as the internet. There's this idea that this is all FAKE. And don't get me wrong...in many many cases, that is absolutely the truth! The negative connotations tied to "online friends" became a cliche, because like most cliches...there is a whole lot of truth to it. There are a ton of people out there who will fabricate a larger than life perfected persona that they use online in order to feel "special". You know the story...you've seen it a hundred times. And whatever, who am I to judge...if somebody needs to make up a fantasy persona just to get through the day...so be it. But I feel like this little online niche we've carved out is sometimes more REAL than our "real" lives.
Maybe it's based on the creativity that runs like a beautiful trickling stream through the blogs we all read and write. As diverse as we are, what really ties us together is art. I mean, we're not having health care debates or discussions about foreign policy. We're all essentially talking about, in some form or another: the creative life. And I think the creative life we live probably more accurately describes who we are than the boring day to day stuff we fill our lives with. We're not our car problems, our health problems, our weight problems, our money problems. We don't define ourselves by how we do dishes or take out the garbage etc... All that is just the stuff that takes up our time and fills our days whether we like it or not. Who we are for REAL is who we WANT to be. And I think our creative selves are so much more closely tied to who we WANT to be. So when we blog about the art we're creating or the art we're buying, or the classes we're taking in order to become better artists, or the way we hang the art that we love on our walls, etc. etc. etc. I think that that's who we really are. All that other stuff in life...the BAD news or the mundane news that we're leaving out...Well, we leave it out because we're telling it who's boss. We're not gonna let it own us. We're not falsely glossing over the less than glamorous aspects of life in order to look good. No, we've just got an unspoken code. All of us know that each and every one of us has that bad and mundane stuff going on...but why talk about it? Instead...check out this handmade jewelry I just bought!
And now for a HUGE and Super big deal announcement!!!
I'm talking about something called: Art Opera 2010! This is a dream come true for us! A couple of years ago, as I said above, me and Aaron taught classes at Silver Bella in Omaha, Nebraska...and as I've said many times before, it was an absolute blast. Besides the actually classes, which were amazing, and vendor night, which was mind blowing...it was all those brief in between moments that were really so memorable. Meeting all the people we knew only in a digital sense. The names that we had been writing on boxes and envelopes were now standing before us in the flesh. Eating dinner in the hotel restaurant and suddenly Maija Lepore sits down to our table. Sharing an elevator ride with Hope and Melfie. Going out to brunch with TeresaMcFayden, Charlotte Lyons, Heather Bullard, Carolyn Peeler. Just too much fun. Great memories. Well, a little while back we were contacted by Lisa Kettell and she told us about Art Opera 2010. A great big art extravaganza, with classes, a vendor fair, in a luxurious hotel with amazing river views, in very close proximity to the best antiquing and shopping around etc etc...And guess what?! She asked if we'd like to be instructors!...And....it's right here in New Jersey! Right in the town we lived in for like a dozen years! Beautiful Red Bank, New Jersey! For real, the best antique shops ever...we actual were antique dealers there for a little while, we had a booth in a giant, rickety old building full of 10 by 10 stalls. There are about a million restaurants, spas, salons, shops, great coffee bars, forget it! And it's in close proximity to NYC for anybody who was willing to stay an extra day or two for a jaunt into Manhattan. Lisa Kettell, if you do not know her...take one visit to her blog and you'll see that everything she touches is Magic. She's a published author,(Altered Art Circus) started The Faerie Zine, she does amazing stuff and so much of it...super duper prolific...AND....she's a Jersey Girl! For so long she's been dying to have a giant art event right here in our home state. Even though we're in Jersey and it's so close to NYC, the capitol of the world...we somehow feel like we have to travel great distances to go to a big art event. Lisa wanted to bring the art right here to the east coast. And she is the perfect ambassador. She's hosted so many successful events and has more contacts than you can imagine. We are so insanely honored that she chose us to be instructors. And I'm announcing this now because signs up are so very soon...maybe within the next 24-48 hours or so. I'll let the formal announcement tell you who the teachers are exactly and all the other details. For now I just wanted to get the word out that me and Aaron will be there and our classes will be amazing. We've got two of 'em planned out and they are sure to be the best stuff we've done yet. Of course we'll be there as vendors as well....and like I made mention of above. We want to take advantage of the close proximity to NYC. We're thinking we can rent a little shuttle bus that Aaron can drive if need be and we'll plan a shopping trip/cupcake crawl into New York for anybody that wants to add an extra day to their Art Opera trip. We're of course just in the early planning stages for that but Art Opera itself will be up and running within a day or so. It will take place in early spring of 2010...which seems far away, but I'm sure it will pop up like it's tomorrow once we've got it inked on our calendar. Again, I'll let you check out the official announcement for all the real deal nitty gritty details. The instructor line-up is outstanding! Such an accomplished and diverse group. Believe me, you'll be making reservations as soon as you get the go-ahead! I just can't even wait!!
Oh, and before I sign off....I have to pick a winner for the give-away. Again, thanks so much to all of you for really participating! And super thanks to all of you new followers/sweethearts! And now for the winner!
You get one of our brand new Favorite Photos plaques! Actually, you get to pick the one you want! So let us know which one and we'll send it out! Thanks so so much again! I hope to see you at Art Opera! xoxo, Jenny