Monday, September 30, 2013

Outside The Box and Other Logo Adventures...

I'm an artist, always have been, always will be. There's no denying it despite how much I tried to struggle against it when I was very young, trying SO hard NOT to be like my mother, as you do when you are young and searching for our own identity. Then there came a day when I could deny it no longer. Literally, there was an actual day. I remember it clearly and so does my mother. I think at the time it was one of her proudest mother moments. She still talks about it. 

I walked into the room seemingly all defeated. "Well, there's no denying it" I said with a long exhale. 
My mother looked at me with great concern, "What's wrong honey"?
"I'm an artist. It's just who I am"

From that moment on I've owned that title, wearing it like a badge of honor. 

Though I worked as an artist for years before opening my first official Online Shop I never had a Logo. There was no need for such a thing back then. Then came time to open an Etsy Shop. I was so scared yet equally excited. On July 24th 2012 Artistic Bean went live. My mother was there to help and witness the event!

This was my first logo. I was so proud of it. You wouldn't believe how long it took me to design that logo on Corel Draw. Oh the victory it represents. Well it served it's purpose for a few years but recently as I've begun a rebirth of Artistic Bean it needed a rebranding as well.  Perhaps a color change was in order?

My new studio is grey with a tiny splash of yellow so this seemed to fit the bill. 
Well as I sat back and looked at it, no it just wasn't working. Something was wrong. 

How about this? Yeah, that seems ok. 
No, still not right. Hm. Perhaps a little rearranging of elements will do the trick. 

Now I was on to something. Since the very beginning of Artistic Bean I have been in love with the idea of BN representing Bean instead of AB for Artistic Bean. It just seemed to fit my personality better. With a little splash of my favorite orange I was happy, for like a minute till I uploaded this sucker on the web and INSTANTLY it looked like a Halloween Horror Spoof Logo! GREAT!

I was SO freaking frustrated I ran screaming from the computer, straight out of the studio and closed the door. GRRRR!

After I calmed down I went back to my roots which is drawing. I grabbed my sketchbook and a pencil and just started doodling. I started to incorporate my almost obsessive love of Art Nouveau and my equally obsessive love of all things Orange/Lime Green. 

I was reborn in Logo Form!!!

I'm in LOVE! 
I let the design sit for a while to see if anything about it niggled my brain. I tested it out on a few family members and close friends to see if it worked for them. If they got it and it communicated well.  

FINALLY, a real logo. Not a box with letters. A logo I as an artist can be proud of. One that represents me! And you want to know the best part? 

I did it all myself.
Oh what a sweet, sweet victory this is.

I'd love to hear what you think. Have you had any similar logo/branding issues?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Beef is in their Blood...

We went to the County Fair last night and we had a great time! We wandered around and each picking out the meals that we had already planned in advance just waiting for the Fair to finally arrive. Mr. AB shared his pulled pork sandwich with the Muse who probably would have eaten half of his sandwich had he not finished it off before she could. She knows good food when she tastes it. I shared some of my sausage sandwich but it wasn't as fun as dad's so I gave up. 


Once our bellies were satisfied (for the moment) we found our way to the greatly anticipated Beef Barn. Mr. AB walking the Muse up and down every aisle evaluating each steer, soaking in the familiar sights, sounds and smells that is the Beef Barn. It's like going home, comforting and you don't want it to end. 


This picture sums it up. Beef is in their Blood, it's who they are. We are livestock people. The goal is to make a financial plan so that by the time she's ready for 4-H we can sell our house and buy a small Farm so she can raise a steer to take to the fair. We feel very strongly about this. Both of us being raised with animals we know the precious, valuable lessons learned from being responsible for raising those animal. Those values just can't be taught any other way. It almost feels like her soul is at stake, we must give her the same gift that we were given.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Homemade is Better...

All year long you can find me impatiently waiting for the first signs of the season changing. Come late August you can hear me say "Can you feel that? I think there's a little something in the air" to which my darling hubby will reply "Don't jinx it! Great, now it's going to stay hot forever".

Here in Maryland the very first sign of color change has arrived. The farm behind us has some beautiful weeping cherry trees and they are always the first to turn. They are beautifully peppered with the first yellow leaves! 

Which brings me to the topic of the day...Pumpkin Spiced Lattes or in my case since I don't have my own personal espresso maker, Pumpkin Spiced Strong Coffee with some Warm Frothed Milk.

Don't get me wrong, I love me a Starbucks Latte but every year when the Pumpkin Spiced Latte comes out I find myself once again going out for one and I am always disappointed. It just isn't pumpkin-y enough for me. Maybe it's just me.

I found a recipe for PSL Syrup over at my favorite blog A Beautiful Mess and decided to try it this morning and WOW!
It's like liquid pumpkin pie! No Joke. 
Mr. AB saw what I was up to this morning and circled the kitchen till it was ready and he practically pushed me out of the way to pour some in his travel mug before leaving for the job site. One sip and he's hooked. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Creativity in the Kitchen...

     Creativity isn't just relegated to drawing and painting in the studio you know. Cooking is a wonderful way to be creative. It satisfies so many of the senses. Just the other day while Mr. AB was making spaghetti sauce from scratch he observed the following, "You know, if all the people that went around spending all that money on scented candles and crap would just step into the kitchen once in a while and cook something their houses would smell delicious"! Then he promptly went back into the kitchen to stir his pot. I have to admit, every time he made a pass around the pot with the wooden spoon a whole new wave of hypnotizing scents would waft my way. I was drooling and my tummy was gurgling by the time we were called to the table.
     I am constantly being inspired by new recipes. A few years ago a good friend of mine turned me onto a blog called Smitten Kitchen and I can with all honesty say that I have made dozens of her recipes and not one, NOT ONE of them have been disappointing. There aren't too many things you can say that about. I highly recommend Smitten Kitchen for all your "what are we going to eat" needs. She makes everything over there!

     Fall is my all time favorite season. No other season can hold a candle to it. It makes me start to think of soups and winter veggie stews. With all our loads of tomatoes continuing to ripen on the vine out back I was looking for a new recipe to help ring in the season and I found just the trick. 

     The tomatoes were roasted, all soup ingredients combined then left to simmer on the stove in my GORGEOUS dutch oven that my wonderful sister-in-law brought me a few months ago during a visit. This seemed the perfect recipe to break it in! Doesn't the look of it just make you want to dive right in and rub this all over your body? No? Just me? Ok, I can live with that. 

     Pour the soup into an oven proof mug, top with a toasted italian bread slice and shredded cheese of your choice and broil till melty and golden bubbly!  

     No, I'm not left handed. This is actually a pic of Mr. AB's mug sitting across from me. His white mug was cuter than my black one. 

     The only thing I would change about this recipe is I would double it for leftovers! YUMMY!! As I type, I hear the sound of a spoon being scraped across the bottom of the mug getting every last bit of goodness. There's no better compliment to the chef I could receive. Well, doing the dishes perhaps?

                               What kind of recipes does Autumn inspire in your kitchen?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lunch Time at the AB

Everything Bagel, toasted
Cream Cheese
Nova Scotia Salmon

Sometimes you just need a bagel sandwich to keep ya going.

What's your favorite go to lunch item?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Studio Is Born...

On April 1st 2012 we signed on the many dotted lines and received the keys to the perfect house. By perfect I mean with a TON of work it could be perfect. The shell was there but no one had loved this place in a very long time. It was in nice friendly and quiet neighborhood that reminded both of us of "home". It had a fenced in back yard for the dog and our future children.  I was 7mths pregnant at the time with our daughter. But the most perfect thing about this house to me? You guessed it, STUDIO SPACE! The house we bought had an In-Law Suite built on the side and what used to be the living room of that Suite would now be known as The Artistic Bean Studio!! Yippie. I was so excited that I could have jumped for joy if I hadn't been carrying around a huge prego belly. The sad part was that of course, my studio was the lowest priority among the MILLIONS of projects we had ahead of us just to get us moved into the house. But that story is for another day.

The studio was used to house all sorts of boxed items destined for other parts of the house. It was simply a dumping ground and was filthy from the previous owners and smelled of old people and cats. 

After moving in in May and having my daughter in June it felt to me like the studio would never come to life. Mr. Artistic Bean (Mr. AB for short) simply had way too many things on his plate with running his own business and still working on the house to help so it was up to me. And in the end it was SO satisfying. There is nothing like looking back at all of your hard work and seeing how far you have come. So join me dear reader on a little adventure that has evolved over the last year's worth of baby nap times and stolen moments to give birth to The Artistic Bean Studio!

This is what the studio looked like in the early days once I cleared out everything that was supposed to live in other parts of the house. I worked around boxes, disorganized piles and random cleaning supplies. My desk was the only "working" space and even that was questionable.
I would shove everything to one side of the room while I cleaned, taped off and painted. When everything dried I'd shove everything back over and work on another side. It was s.l.o.w. goings but it was going.
They said I was crazy, that it was way too much work. "It will be too busy looking" they said. Pish Posh! I had a vision and I knew it would turn out great and make this space a studio and not just a room I did art in. I researched just the right stencil, the perfect paint colors and off I went.
I took me several days to get it all done, one section at a time but oh I was in love!
It's PERFECT! The only problem now was that all those neigh sayers were so in love with it that they refused to let me put any shelves on it.

So then came my next vision. A counter the length of the wall and the height of a table. Mr. AB was on the job. He knew just how he wanted to make it. He even drew plans for me to approve and everything! He's awesome. 

How do you ensure that it will be level you ask? Well when your hubby is a Land Surveyor it's no problem! You just bust out the old digital level.
Ask your wife who used to work with you out in the field to dust off her skills and you're both off and leveling! 

In the end it took 4 sections of glued and screwed plywood, a custom ordered piece of laminate due to it's extra long length and the help of a visiting nephew to get this baby to come to life but oh how I LOVE her. Since Mr. AB knows my love of piling things on top of any surface available, he made sure it was super strong and tested it out by actually standing on it! Yep I think she'll hold anything I pile on her.
That brings us to today. The studio is by no means complete but she's up and producing and that's all that matters.  Half of the studio is baby proof as I have my little muse with me at all times.
It's an ever growing and ongoing process to arrange and organize but as any artist will tell you, a studio is a living, breathing space. It's constantly growing and evolving along with the artist who inhabits it. 
I never in a million years thought I'd have such a wonderful place to create and launch my visions. It's a dream come true. I couldn't have wished for a more creatively rich environment to raise my daughter. And it's all thanks to my wonderful partner in crime Mr. Artistic Bean. None of this would have ever been possible without him. He's supported me from day one when we lived in a teeny apartment that smelled of kimchee and curry by Akron University. Ah, those were the days!