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Blog

A Denver artist's blog of projects, misadventures and pinterest fails. Enjoy.

Welding and the Fruits of my Labor

Cecile Elliott

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For the last few months I've been working to convert the garage into a workspace I can weld/paint and possibly even display work or hold an impromptu gallery showing here or there. The garage isn't quite there yet but getting close and in the meantime I decide to take a welding workshop to keep the creativity flowing.

Behold, welded allium flowers I made during my workshop. Alliums are related to onion bulbs and flower in early spring and don't last for long before the summer heat sends them straight to Hades. They are a whimsical delight and best of all these iron maidens look good year around and don't need any water.  

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So if you're looking for some garden art let me know, these are all for sale and I'm going to be making them on a regular basis.

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A Year Review: Trying to be an Artist and a Mother

Cecile Elliott

In the last year I've been adjusting to being an artist and work-at-home mother. It's been really challenging, not that I didn't expect it to be, but in ways that were difficult to anticipate. 

I expected when I became pregnant to begin to establish myself as an artist full-time; to begin an inventory of work, figure out my creative voice, make contacts in the industry and seize this opportunity with vigor. Needless to say, the first 5 months of pregnancy was spent struggling with antenatal depression and crippling nausea, bringing my ambition to a screeching halt. 

I'm clearly thrilled she's getting into everything now

I'm clearly thrilled she's getting into everything now

The second half of my pregnancy was easier physically but my creative progress also hindered by the impending arrival of a newborn. The first 6 months of parenthood was a blur and also a much needed time to establish ourselves as a family. Liv was so tiny and developmentally delayed, her slug-like demeanor made it relatively easy to care for her despite the weekly physical therapy she required. She slept a lot and slept through the night early on and was a gentle, sweet baby. I was able to do contract work for my old company on a very part-time basis during her naps as well as do at least a small, daily sketch that allowed me to experiment as an artist and still work toward my artistic goals. 

Once Liv started to become more mobile and especially after she dropped her second nap it became nearly impossible to get anything done during the day. For me as an artist, I have days of almost manic inspiration and then weeks in a cloudy lackluster haze, making it impossible to "turn-on" that inspiration in the short hour or two I wasn't chasing an infant around the house making sure she wasn't eating rocks or trying to drown herself in the toilet.

I've found the creative process to be a frustratingly slow evolution. I have a list of tasks written on my tablet sized legal pad and for the last 4 months that list has changed very little. My goal was to do 1 thing, just 1 thing weekly on the list outside of keeping a baby alive, and I came to the conclusion that I needed more time to myself in order to get anything done. With this realization, I hired a nanny 1 day a week and even just a few hours of quiet creative reflection have made a resounding and positive change in my attitude.

I am still selling cards on Etsy and that is going well and is a passive source of income, but haven't had the time to brainstorm or create new card ideas. I started taking a welding workshop which has been a fucking godsend and allows me to not only get out of the house, away from the family for a while but gives me an outlet to make things without interruption. 

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For a while, I would think, "why even bother with this art thing, I'm 36 and what kind of career can I really have when there are people out there who already figured this shit out." And that's when I realized this isn't a competition and I need to stop comparing myself and my process to others. I'm raising a child and navigating my life's purpose and neither one of those things is easy.

I'm going to start posting my more recent work and projects at least weekly on this blog.

I will eventually figure this art thing out, one legal pad check mark at a time. 

 

Cecile

Robocop Mural to Serve and Protect My Garage Door

Cecile Elliott

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One of my art goals when I first quit my job and started OneCreativeBird was to do a mural on our garage door. The garage will eventually be an art studio and the mural was the first step in the conversion. 

The garage has a long way to go to become an art studio, including upgrading the electrical panel, but this has been by far my favorite upgrade I've done to the house. It was almost symbolic in some way, that I'm a legit artist now creating and putting things out into the world.

I added the hot pink bullet/graffiti splats using paint soaked toilet paper balls. Yes, similar to the water soaked toilet paper balls I used to throw at the outdoor pool bathroom walls in middle school. It created quite the mess in both regards.

We've had a couple neighbors comment how much they like it. It makes me happy every day I see it.


Cecile

Architectural Record Excellence Awards 2015: Honorable Mention

Cecile Elliott

An ad that I created for Bison Innovative Products won an award! Well, honorable mention but still. Advertisers seen in Architectural Record, the premier magazine in the industry, in the first 3 issues of 2016, in print or online, qualified for the competition. The jury was comprised of architects representing the breadth of the profession - firms of all sizes working on projects from large-scale commercial to residential and interiors.

 

What was great about this ad was that we were trying something slightly different and it worked! It was a little bit more whimsical and less technical than the usual ads. With Bison decking products one of the challenges of displaying the products is showing the finished product in use by actual people. In this ad we were able to capture children at the Austin Girls School using the deck for a brainstorming session. 

Thank you to Architectural Record for this recognition!


Cecile Elliott
 

Why Butts?

Cecile Elliott

For the last 2 months I've been trying to reconnect with my art degree background. For years I worked in marketing and in the beginning I got to do enough creative projects including publications, posters and ad campaigns that it was enough to still feel balanced creatively. As time went on I started doing less and less I enjoyed and reached the point where I just needed pursue my own creative ventures. I gave myself enough time to prepare and December 18th, 2015 was the day of destiny.

In the first couple months of self-employment I've learned it's easy to get distracted working from home. For the last month our main bathroom has been in a state of disarray. With constant construction going on it's hard to focus creative energy in the right place. Dust bunnies accumulate, piles of clothes go unwashed. It's like the apocalypse over here people. 

One creative enrichment activity that has been easy to maintain has been my butt series. I'm not big on New Year's resolutions but shortly after the New Year, I committed to drawing a butt a day for a year. So far I'm 29 butts in. 

I get a lot of questions about the butt series. Why butts? How many are you going to draw? Are they for sale? Your questions deserve answers. 

Why butts? 
Butts are easy to draw. They literally have 5 lines. Anyone can draw a butt. Butts are diverse. There are an endless supply of inspiration. Fat butts, thin butts, muscular butts, old butts, young butts. Everyone has one. I take no more than 15 minutes to sketch out a butt daily. It's a nice exercise to get back into a creative process.

How many butts are you going to draw?
As many as it takes. Actually, I am going to try and commit to a butt a day for a year. 365 days of butts. So far I'm only at 29. There are many butts ahead. 

Are your butts for sale? 
Yes! I am happy to sell butt sketches for $15 a piece. I'll even throw in an Ikea frame for them. Contact me if you're interested.

If you are interested in following me on my creative butt journey, follow me on Instagram. You'll see my daily butt sketch and the occasional video of my dog Rico and pictures of stuff I cook. I'm hoping to branch out from butts soon, but I've gotten a lot of positive feedback and people really enjoy my daily butts. So for now, butts are enough.

DIY Rose Face Mist Monday

Cecile Elliott

Art is not all fun and games. Sometimes it requires a rejuvenating spritz of inspiration.

For years I've been a sucker and been buying Vitamin E Rosewater Face Mist from the Body Shop. I love it but I decided I'm done buying face mist from the man and today I took matters into my own hands and made my own. 

I experimented with 3 different scents. The first was Rose and Ylang Ylang. Rose oil is expensive. Like, it's a fucking joke how expensive it is. But I get it. It takes 60,000 roses to product 1 oz of essential oil. Insane. Ylang Ylang is a tropical floral scent which pairs well with the classic and unmistakable scent of rose, though it can be overwhelming so I tried to use it sparingly compared to the rose oil. But the end product was a refreshing, hydrating spray. Perfect for every day use. 

The next scent of face mist I tried was Neroli. Back when I was working corporate jobs my stress level was an 11 out of 10. I wandered down to Artemisia and Rue, a local apothecary, on South Broadway in Denver to see if aromatherapy might be able to offer any relief. I was instructed that Neroli was good for stress and the best way application of the oil would be to dab the oil on a tissue and shove it straight and hard right up my nostril and breathe deep. I'll tell you right now I never applied the Neroli in this manner and instead it's made it's way into a stress-relieving face mist. 

Finally, I used tea tree oil and eucalyptus together to blend an rejuvenating scent. Tea tree oil is used frequently in face products for it's anti-bacterial properties. I have a lavender and tea tree oil hippy dippy deodorant cream that is the only thing that manages to tame my masculine aroma. This face mist will be great for a quick quick-me-up. If these end up being a must-have in my daily life, I'm going to make these on the reg and you should buy them from me rather than the Body Shop. Nothing against them ;) 

If you want to sell your first born and buy your own rose oil here is the recipe for your own face mist:

5 drops Rose essential oil
2 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil
5 drops vitamin E oil
1 Tablespoon Aloe Vera Gel
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Glycerine

Mix in the bottle and fill the rest with distilled water. Shake well and use often!

 


Customized Homebrew 6-pack Label

Cecile Elliott

I live in Colorado, the capital of craft breweries. If you live here long enough you'll probably learn how to make it yourself. Which was the case with my husband and I. I was approached by another homebrewer who wanted some special labels for her husband's brews. Her only stipulation was that it have a golden retriever on it. As a golden lover myself, how could I say no? Here is the end result. Customized 6-pack homebrew label

Stannis Father's Day Card: #1 Dad

Cecile Elliott

This ended up being the fruits of my labor from my first day of self-employment. A Game of Thrones-inspired Stannis Father's Day card.Stannis #1 DadReally, it's good for any occasion you want to let him know that he's the man.

What do you want to see next, friends?

 

My First Day of Self-Employment

Cecile Elliott

So I finally pulled the trigger and committed to making One Creative Bird my full-time gig. After years of toying with the idea and doing cards and other creative ventures on the side, it was staring to become toostressful to have a full-time job and keep up with passions without letting one or the other slide off into oblivion. home office My first day of self-employment was productive! I mostly arranged my cards and my work space. I hung curtains (which we have been meaning to do for years) filed paperwork, cleaned out the closet to make way for envelopes, business cards and other office supplies. Not only that but I went to Jiffy Lube and had them reset the oil light that they neglected to reset when I had my oil changed around Halloween, picked up a turkey breast for Christmas dinner, cleaning supplies at Target, our hellhound's dog food at Petsmart, and vacuumed all the rugs in the house. And I got to do some personal growth tasks like practice Spanish vocabulary, take the beast for a walk and do yoga with Jeff.

The day really flew by and now that I have my workspace optimally set up, I can work on designs and scheme. Til next time cats and kittens :)

Cecile 

Abbie is My Spirit Animal

Cecile Elliott

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I've been a fan of the show Broad City on Comedy Central from the beginning. I might have fallen in love with it during the hurricane episode in season 1.Those two are the epitome of friendship; someone who can take care of your actual shit has your back. This card will be coming to the store soon. Stay tuned, Queens. broad city doo doo ninja Next up, booth design for craft fairs. I've been trying to think of stuff that won't be too crafty. I feel like everything I've researched so far looks like those "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters and inspirational quotes painted on pallet wood. And I just can't. I. Just. Can't. So I'm trying to gather things slowly over time and fail miserably until it works. :)

I've been trying to remind myself that not everything has to be perfect and that putting anything out into the world is half the battle. I can make it better with time and practice. Working on networking and making likeminded friends who will be supportive and mentors through this whole crazy process is going to be the hard part. And I know I can do this. I just have to keep swimming.

Thanks friends,

Cecile

Losing Steam

Cecile Elliott

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Over the last few months I've really been trying to set attainable goals and work towards them and the it's been paying off. I've reached my inventory goal with card designs (and still have more to do) have set up a work space and updated this website to be card centric and be able to sell things through my site. It's felt great. Some of my other goals include getting a booth design together, create a whole sale price sheet and find some inspiring people to network with. I'm compiling a list of places to approach to distribute cards.

I've been trying to stay motivated by taking a few creative classes (a sculpture class and a pottery class) but it's proving to be hard to stay motivated with health issues and other things creeping in. It just feels like I don't have enough time to get everything I need done and need more time to myself and my business but I'm not sure how to do that yet. If someone figures it out, can you share the secret please? I have a couple new card designs arriving this weekend and I'm hoping to get a minute to photograph them and get them up on the store. Stay tuned cats and kittens.

Cecile

 

 

Marketing Schmarketing

Cecile Elliott

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For someone who has been in marketing as long as I have, I am not so great at marketing myself.

It's not so much that I'm bad at it but more that prioritizing everything that needs to be done to get a greeting card business off the ground is a lot of work and takes time that I don't have at the moment. I have reached my goal of getting 1 card design done a week for 10 weeks, simply to increase my inventory. This week I ordered my Orange is the New Black card, my break up card and a brand spanking new Game of Thrones Christmas card featuring Jon Snow which is sure to be a crowdpleaser for those who have bedroom eyes for Kit Harrington and let's face it, who doesn't?

I had applied to a couple of craft fairs a couple months ago and found out today that my application wasn't accepted. Which is fine and means I have time to work up a booth design, create more card designs and really figure out a marketing model that works for my new venture. But it was part of the networking and promotion piece I was hoping would fall into place so it's a little disappointing. With a full-time day job its hard to find the time on nights and weekends to get everything done. I did the math and with eating, spending time with Jeff, training the dog, taking a couple creative classes and time with friends, it actually leaves very little time for me to grow my little card business.

My "favorites" and "likes" on Etsy are coming in at a greater rate than ever so I know my efforts are paying off and it's just a matter of time before things start picking up.

In the meantime, feast your eyes on my break up card, requested by one of my favorite friends. :) Card reads: "For somebody else" on the inside.

Cecile

 

Joffrey Always Gets Choked up at Weddings

Cecile Elliott

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game-of-thrones-wedding-card-1A new Game of Thrones inspired card is here! For fans of the show, the Purple Wedding as it has come to be known was just as shocking as the Red Wedding. This card is perfect for any Game of Thrones couple getting ready to tie the knot. Only 7 more months until the new season. Way too long to wait.  

Available for sale in our shop and on Etsy now!

Orange is the New Black Greeting Cards? You Bet

Cecile Elliott

I've been working on a line of cards inspired  by the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Yesterday, I came up with this card which will be available for purchase in about a week: 12002772_873435616025234_3449729554236108212_n

I'm trying to think of other cards, I started a Trust No Bitch card and I think a card based around Space Admiral Rodcocker, Crazy Eye's erotic fan fiction, would be entertaining. Any other ideas, friends? I want to hear from you!

Cecile

Welcome to the New One Creative Bird!

Cecile Elliott

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Hey friends, This has been a long time coming, but I've finally decided to make the commitment to One Creative Bird. I've been wondering for years if I had what it takes to make my own business work and instead of waiting around to see if it will eventually happen, I have been setting goals and completing them, and making it a reality.

I have been building up an inventory of card designs after being uninspired for years. Because the only way to see if this card thing will work is to make new card designs and see if people like them. My goal over the next 10 weeks is to make one card design a week and get it off to the printer. I have also been tidying my office and gathering the supplies needed to ship and store cards professionally.

The printer that I get my cards professionally printed at just reduced their rates for greeting cards which makes experimenting with new concepts easier.

I've built a steady and loyal fan-base on Etsy and am hoping to expand that into my new site here.

I can't wait to see how this all comes together. :)

Cecile

Game of Thrones - Christmas is Coming Card

Cecile Elliott

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Christmas is coming! Give your loved ones a warm welcome from Westeros this holiday season. Card features Jon Snow and stockings from all the members of House Stark with the phrase "Christmas is Coming". Perfect for Game of Thrones fans, this card is sized 4.25x 6 and comes with a white envelope. Card is blank inside. Purchase card on Etsy here

Basic Broadcast Email Template

Cecile Elliott

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Before: Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 4.50.56 PM

 

 

After: 

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 4.28.07 PM The first email was what was existing when I came to work at GolfTEC. This email was a collaborative effort with the creative team to update it and brand it within our new website standards. I was given a basic template and I specified what elements the email should have as well as determining the simple look and feel. The old template was dated and this made it have a modern feel.