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Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog and thought I should give you an update on what I’ve been doing, and, more importantly, let you know about some big things coming up! So read to the end!

While I’ve still been doing some arts and crafts on the side when time permits, I haven’t been able to devote enough time to it to create full blog posts. I have had to spend a lot of time on my hubby’s business, including doing projects of my own. One of these projects was creating an electronic display system for lobbies and elevators, like in hotels and condo buildings, which shows the weather, bus and train schedules, and announcements. I have half a dozen or so clients in Chicago keeping me busy with that project. And I’m currently thinking about how to package it up as an off-the-shelf product.

On the home front, I’m still spending a lot of time in my garden (well, not now with the season over), and… wait for it… we now have chickens! Well, actually it’s been a little over a year now since we got the first two from a neighbor. Then this past spring we got 4 chicks to raise. They have been an endless source of entertainment. I had no idea chickens would be so fun to watch, and they have such different personalities! Sadly, we recently lost half our flock, but we’ll be getting more chicks in the spring I’m sure. I’ll have to do a blog post about this one day soon.

 

In the evenings I sometimes just sit and draw in my sketchbook and I’ve recently started a new theme of fairy houses. I almost have enough for a new coloring book, so watch for that next year! Here is a sneak peak!

 

I also spent a lot of time devoted to working on my jewelry. I was ramping up to hit the shows this past year when COVID hit, canceling most shows in my area. I was thinking about selling online, but just never got it done. It’s a lot more work when you create one-of-a-kind pieces. I’m thinking of selling in local shops instead. I’ll keep you posted on this! If you haven’t seen any of my jewelry, check it out on Instagram (under MiDonna Designs). And if you are interested in purchasing anything you see, tag me on the piece or send me a message!

One thing that has been keeping me from being more creative in recent months has been a lack of space. I have my art and craft and jewelry supplies scattered all over the house and when I want to do a project, I have to use our kitchen or dining room table and scrounge all around looking for the supplies. Not ideal! (and especially not ideal for taking photos for blog posts). Space is even tighter now with my daughter doing remote schooling.

BUT… that is soon going to change! We are currently renovating our basement space (DIY) to include a studio for me! I’ll be able to organize all of my supplies in one place and have plenty of space to spread out for different projects. Once this is done, I think I will definitely be more motivated to start creating more and blogging about it. And I’ll have a nice area to photograph or even film it. Not exactly Martha Stewart nice, but way better than what I have now! The project is bigger than just my studio, and it is taking longer than I’d hoped, as we find more problems along the way (as most renovation projects do). But we are getting close! I’ll get up pics when it is ready.

The other big news is that just in the last month I’ve started a new side gig – as an art teacher at Roselle Fine Arts Academy (RFAA)! Here’s the background story of how it happened… and about a new venture I am helping them with!

I have been a troop leader for my daughter’s Girl Scout troop the last few years. We had one final outing mid October before more lockdown restrictions began – a paint party (outside). I had never done one of these before. (You can see our paintings here on Facebook). The owners liked my painting and we got to talking. Funny thing is, I had been thinking about approaching them almost a year ago to see if maybe I could teach some classes! I was thinking of teaching crafts or jewelry-making. I had even written up a message to them I just never sent. They asked me if I’d be interested in teaching paint parties! They asked me to send along samples of my art, which I did, along with a bio. When I didn’t hear back after a week and a half, I thought for sure they’d changed their mind. But then I got a call on a Tuesday, asking if I could teach another Girl Scout troop that Friday! I didn’t even know which painting we’d be doing until the night before. I quickly tried the painting myself, trying to figure out how I’d teach it. We had a group of I think 13 girls and a couple of adults. I was a little nervous at first, but as we got into it, my nerves calmed down and I had fun. Here’s a link to the event on Facebook. (Please don’t judge my artistic ability on what you see in the picture below!) 

The owner was happy with my work and we started talking about my involvement in the future. We’ve just finalized that in January, I’ll be teaching an art class for first through fourth-graders. As I find projects for that class, expect more posts from me for those or similar activities!

They’d also like me to continue with paint parties for children and adults. Unfortunately, with the lockdown restrictions and their small space, we really can’t do any more parties in their space, restaurants are now closed to in-person events around here, and lots of the rental venues are also closed. So we started talking about alternatives. One option is doing online/Zoom paint parties. Kids/adults can be at home and I teach the class online. Another idea we came up with is an art box. Basically, all of the supplies you’d need to do a project. We give you all of the materials, written instructions, and also a pre-recorded video you can watch anytime at your own pace.

We’ve had to do a lot of last minute scrambling to get this ready for the holiday season, but we did it! Presenting Art in a Box!

There are currently 3 art boxes, each designed for different ages. (Although,  I’ve had adults tell me they might get the big kids box for themselves because they like the gnome painting!) Here are my designs for the big kids box and the adult box.

These boxes are for sale on the RFAA website. If successful, we’ll come out with more boxes and maybe even offer a subscription, so you automatically get a new box every month!

What do you think? We could use your help by giving us some feedback and suggestions. Do you like the idea of the art box? Would you rather get your own supplies and pay less and just get the instructions? Would you want the subscription? Would you want to have new painting projects each month, or would you want them with different media each month (like pencils, pastels, pen and ink, etc) or also include other more crafty projects (card making, tie dye, jewelry kit, learn calligraphy, etc.)? I’d love to hear what you think! Put it in the comments below or message me directly!

A big part of creating these art boxes are the instructional videos. This will be my first time on camera! But the good news is that I’ll be learning the ins and outs of filming, and once my studio is complete, I won’t have any more excuses not to start producing these for my blog! So, stay tuned! Exciting things coming in 2021!

And lastly, a big thank you to all of my subscribers for sticking with me all of this time! I hope I can provide more things that you like so you’ll stick around! And, if you are new, thank you for joining!

Just in case you aren’t familiar with all of my ventures, here are all the links:

Oh, one last thing – If you’d like to be notified when I have more content, news, contests, or freebies, please join my mailing list (see below). Don’t worry, I don’t send many email blasts – only when there is something important to share!

 

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