My name is Erika. I'm in love with making art, collecting old things & chasing after my two kiddos. This blog is a peek into my happy accidents & plots of total world domination.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hello from across the world! - My list on the journey to Hong Kong

 I can't believe I am here! I think this is the most that I have traveled in a day ever.  

1 starbucks
1 croissant
1 order of delicious french fries
3 bags of peanuts
2 glasses of OJ
2 inflight meals - chicken both times.. at least that's what they told me.
2 read books
2 read magazines
6 watched inflight movies
4 glasses of water
1 coffee
1 vanilla ice cream sandwich
1 pack strawberry mentos
1 mystery thai wrap
6554 traveled miles
16 hour flight time
20 minutes of panic on the airplane due to turbulence.
1 pit stop in Japan

Be back soon :) I am off to go find the art supply store and fingers crossed I don't get too lost.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Honk Honk.. Next stop Hong Kong

Woohoo! next stop Hong Kong.. it's only a 15 hour plane hop and I loose a day.  I am going to miss my little pug monsters the most.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Motivation Monday- Setting a Goal

How was your Easter weekend? The sun finally came out for a little bit this weekend and it actually felt warm! I feel like spring is actually here and it's just when I am leaving for a more tropical environment. :) and it's just what I need.  I just wanted to say thank you so much for supporting me on my kickstarter project.  Even though I wasn't able to meet the goal for kickstarter, I learned a lot, grew a little, and pushed myself out of my comfort zone.  Even though I have a loud smart mouth, I am pretty shy when it comes being the center of attention.  I also made some new friends and felt so lucky for my current friends (like you).
 I am happy to announce that I am going anyway and doing the project!  I decided to finance the trip through other means because I think of how invaluable the experience is going to be and that I believe in what I am doing.  Don't worry I still have both of my kidneys.  I am going to be posting everyday (fingers crossed about internet access).   My initial project was to paint in Hong Kong for 2 weeks and use the photos/images of the experience and my work to publish an Ipad/coffee table book.  Now I am going to Hong Kong for 2 weeks, then Singapore and then Bali!  I am going to take lots of pictures and paint a lot.  My husband and I made a rule that we have to at least try everything.  Yes we are trying those 100 year old egg, turtle soup, snake soup, and maybe bugs.
Creative thoughts and motivational thoughts you way this Monday!

Friday, April 22, 2011

What's in my bag? Travel Edition

What are you up to this weekend? I have been running around like a crazy person the last couple of days making sure I have all my loose ends done before I climb into the tin can and jump over the ocean.  I also desperately need book recommendations if anyone has any? 
I decided since I am leaving next week for gorgeous Hong Kong , I should do a "What's in my bag?:travel edition" post.  :)
  • Polaroid Camera
  • Passport
  • BDG Yellow Wallet- I love this wallet- I got it for 5 bucks at Urban Outfitters. I love a good deal.
  • Bag by Moop
  • 1 field notebook
  • 1 mixed media sketchbook
  • 1 composition notebook.
  • 2 pairs of sunglasses.
  • 1 box of water colors 
  • a millions pencils and pencils.
  • some charcoal crayons :)
  • 1 highlighter
  • 1 glue stick
  • 1 pair of sissors
  • a couple paint brushes
  • 1 water color paint brush that holds water.
  • a water dish
  • a couple of erasers.
Have a super Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

5 Ways to Break that Creative Block

I love brainstorming ideas. I love it! I think it's the building of an idea! I think I get it from my mother whom always has a solution for everything and tells me what I should or shouldn't be doing.  A blessing and a curse right? I also have a lot of amazing creative friends, like you whom I wonder why they even have any type of creative block at all.  These are my favorite triggers to help a creative block.  :) 
  1. Write or draw about a first day of school.  I will tell you what happened on my first day of kindergarten.  My mother takes me in hand in hand into my first day of kindergarten and I was so excited.  I knew how to write my name in cursive (just my first name).  I know now a days kids in kindergarten can read/write and do algebra and pretty soon kids will be learning the latest technology in neuro-biology.  My sister had cut my hair into a very fashionable mullet (seriously) and I had my brand new lunch box.  Then I turned around and my mother was gone and I look out the window and she is waving and leaving.  She just left me! Abandoned me at my first day of school. I spent the rest of the day crying and that's all I remember.  Tragic I know!  
  2. Write or draw about where and what you would like to be doing.  Personally right now.. I would love to be on a beach with a fruity drink with an umbrella with my toes buried in the sand.  Or I would love to be in Paris sipping on a delicious $10 coffee with some warm and buttery  croissants watching the world go by.
  3. Write or draw about your favorite color and describe it and you aren't allowed to use the color or mention the color. :) Ok I am thinking of color.. delicious.. warm.. velvetty... sweet.. (ok I was thinking chocolate brown.. I think I have chocolate cake on the brain)   
  4. Write or draw..about your evil twin- what would their name be and what would their super human power would be.  If you are a twin.. your triplet.  My evil twin would be able to read peoples minds and pick up objects with my mind...  Her name would be Fiona and would obsessively collect stamps and be able to not run as fast as me and wouldn't be as smart as me. :) lol
  5.  Write or draw about what you would do if you won the lottery... well when you first got the cash .. the first splurge.  Well the first thing I would do is go by myself a set of Louie Vuitton luggage. :)  I love a good hand bag but I don't know why it would be so magical to have a set of LV luggage.  I am picturing the luggage now.. and I would get a whole set.   
Happy Thursday! How do you unblock your creative self?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Success! My first screen print. with a little DIY

Over the past couple of week I have been trying to figure out how to screen print and the stars aligned today and I was able to pull a somewhat successful photo emulsion screen print. :) Is that angels I can hear singing? WOOHOO! I want to first say I hate following directions.. I never read the instructions.. I am a horrible baker because it relies on measuring.. :) I finally read the directions and after several failed attempts- SUCCESS! 

What s photo emolsion screen print? It's were you put the image you are burning on a transparency film and burn the image into the screen.  If you buy a screen printed something- they usually use this method because it's the best way to get the details of your image on the screen.

Supplies:  Screen, Screen Base, ink, Squeegee, 250 watt photo flood light bulb, black cloth or paper, piece of glass or plexi glass, photo emolusion mix, and photo emolusion remover
Step 1.  Apply a really thin coat of photo emulsion on the screen in 1 swipe.  The thinner the better.    My problem was my photo emulsion supplies were old- they are supposed to have a shelf life of 3 and I think I had mine for a couple years before I used it.  I think it was too old. When you mix the chemicals for the photo emulsion- make sure you completely dilute the activator before putting it into the photo emulsion.
Step 2.  Put the screen in a drawer or a dark place to dry.  Make sure it drys completely.

Step 3. Your screen is dry.  Place a black cloth/paper underneath the screen.  Place your gorgeous transparency design on screen and place glass on top.  Take a 250 watt photoflood light and have it 12 inches from the screen- turn on for 10 minutes.
 Step 4.  You screen should have a your fantastic design on the screen.  Turn off the light and take your screen to your kitchen sink and spray with cold water.  The area with your design. 

Step 5.  Let your screen dry flat.
 Step 6.  Tape a blank piece of paper down on the base for your test print.

Step 7.  Attach your screen to your base unit and put ink on the top and take your squeegee and pull the ink over the design while holding your squeegee at a 60 degree angle.
 Step. 8  OMG YOU Are a amazing you completed your first screen print. :)
Conclusion:  :) I know it's not perfect but it's my first try or at least making it to where I could pull the print.  I was so mega excited that it somewhat resembles my drawing.  I intend to buy a scoop coater, so that the photo emulsion is evenly coated in the screen. 

Want to learn more? Here are some  helpful links.
Screen Printing T Shirt Video - They make it look so darn easy.
Step by Step Screen Printing Instructions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Are you a Villain or a Superhero?

Are you a villain or a superhero?  Recently we saw a group of people walking around Portland all dressed up in Halloween costumes.  Umm.. It's April not October :) but only in Portland (or should I say Portlandia).  Someone shouted out.. Are you a villain or a superhero? I try to think I am more of a superhero type person.. I let people cut in front of me in traffic while not flipping the bird.. I always support the girl scouts when they come knocking on my door and they ask me to buy a box of cookies.. I always say no I will take two!  See superhero qualities right? but I do love to dress up as a villain when Halloween rolls around.
Here is the pic from the other night.  Check out that pitch fork.   My favorite superheroes of all time!
My favorite villains of all time. :)

Here are a few etsy finds to help you with your inner superhero or villian.  
Are you a superhero or a villain? :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

motivation monday- day by day :)

Hello! How was your weekend? Mine was filled with ice cream sundaes and chasing after little dogs.  I am getting ready to leave to paint in Hong Kong and I am still so excited that it's just right around the corner. For Motivation Monday- I leave you with this incredible video.

The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Strike 2!

I am on strike 2 with screen printing.. I think I figured out what the issue is.. and I am blaming the chemicals for being old and not my screen printing skills :). I will post pictures soon! What are you up to this weekend? Isn't little Yoda cute he was trying to entice me to scratch his belly. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ready... Set... Screenprint!

How is your week going so far? :) My little furry angels look a little too innocent.
I have been working hard this week attempting to pull some screen prints.  It's a lot harder than it looks.  Anyone have any tips?  I have been covered in green goo all week from mixing the chemicals wrong.  :) Hopefully today I will have some luck and it will all magically come together.  Fingers Crossed.  Some gorgeous screen print artworks for your viewing pleasure..
Andy Warhol -Turquoise Marilyn
Lichtenstein Girl with a Hair Ribbon
Chuck Close   

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taxes Tips and Tricks

 Are you ready for taxes?  April 15th is coming!  Even though the government does give us until April 15th to pay our taxes for the previous year- it seems like it comes sooner and sooner every year.

I want to disclose that I am not a tax professional and not an expert but these are just some tips and things to think about so that you are prepared to file your taxes and hopefully not got screwed. :) I have also linked my resources if you need more information and some useful links.

1. Pay Your Taxes! Sounds easy right? Well being self employed I think the hardest thing is that you are given all your money at once and then hand over a check either at the end of the year or quarterly. How do you know if you need to pay taxes quarterly? If you have a regular job and your taxes are being with held from you W2 income then you are already getting your taxes with held but if your self employment income is thriving you might need to consider paying your taxes quarterly. If you are supposed to pay quarterly taxes there are penalties and fees if you don't pay.

If you are filing as a sole proprietor, partner, S corporation shareholder, and/or a self-employed individual, you generally have to make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when you file your return.If you are filing as a corporation you generally have to make estimated tax payments for your corporation if you expect it to owe tax of $500 or more when you file its return. IRS LINK

Need help figuring out how to pay quarterly taxes and more questions? EHOW TURBO TAX

2.  The 1099 Form.  If you are doing business with someone and you are writing them a check.  You will need that person to fill out a w9 form which means you are paying the person as a 1099 employee.  Basically a 1099 form is an agreement that the person is going to pay taxes on their portion of the income is (what you cut them a check for).  They are responsible for that money with the IRS and paying their own taxes on that money.  Often realtors, contractors, brokers etc. are 1099 employees.  IRS LINK

3.  Staying Organized.  I might sound organized but I am secretly not! I have to set organizational goals with myself especially for this stuff.  Go through and organize your tax stuff at least once a quarter.  April/June/Sept/Dec.  If you get really busy then once a month but have a organizational easy tax goal- so that you are not pulling your hair out this time next year.  You will need to keep all your receipts and paperwork for up to 3 years but if the IRS finds that you understated by more than 25% then have up to 6 years to come after you. IRS LINK

This stuff is really important and hopefully I kept it brief enough for you to read most of it.  :) But if you are glazing over this information and are making money on self employment income- then go talk to a certified public accountant.  Typically a CPA will do a free consulting hour when you set up an introductory appointment not during tax season (Tax season: Jan-April 15th).  Happy Wednesday and lots of luck for taxes. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

the battle: polka dots versus stripes


Monday, April 11, 2011

from the subway

Just finished this painting of mothers and daughters in the subway.  Oil on canvas :)
I just love how people read on the subway and just how fascinated I am with people in this space.

Motivation Monday- The Best

Hello! How was your weekend? Mine was super great, my husband whisked me away for a yummy sushi date and we went browsing at our favorite book store.  This week is gearing up to be a busy one with lots of painting.. plotting.. and planning .. The Triple P!!
Need a little motivation this week? Ask yourself are you doing your best? Didn't your momma ever tell you that you need to put your best foot forward. :) Do your best this week! Make your best work.  Be the best person you can be! Let that person cut in front of you on the highway and think no problem! Smile at the coffee lady when order your delicious coffee beverage.  Makes you feel good right?    I don't know what it is about having that satisfying feeling of a job or a day well done.  Also doing my best makes me proud and gives me the feeling of accomplishment.  
Have a super week! Get lots of work done!
© Erika Lee Sears