Illustrations by Nancy C. Sampson

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This year I was inspired to create handmade cards for friends and family instead of having one of my designs printed. This meant that I was not able to send them to a long list of recipients as in years past but in the end I think I made and sent about 45 cards.

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To keep the cards affordable, simple, and colorful I started with large sheets of plain, brown craft paper, then ripped up and glued down shreds of colored tissue paper that I had on hand.

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After the glue dried I cut the craft paper into 5″ strips and cut those strips into 8.5″ lengths to form individual cards. After that, it was time to draw and personalize …

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I began with a handful of images and themes sketched out on a piece of paper but sometimes allowed the shapes and colors on each card speak to me. I liked making each card a little different. Even if I reused an image/idea, I tried something new with the drawing.

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It was important to me to send out something personal and special since I have received so much love and support from my friends and family through my career change and relocation process, which is far from over. I wish I’d had the time to make more of them so I’ll have to try it again for another occasion!

Supplies used to create these cards: Craft paper, tissue paper, glue stick, scissors, ruler, Uniball pens, imagination, love.

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A gorgeous sunset from my trip with Kelly to the Chesapeake Bay area in the Fall.

The sun is setting on another year and I have been thinking about goals, both old and new. It’s important for me to remember to celebrate accomplishments first, before moving too far into the goal-setting stage. I found myself ignoring that last week, my thoughts focusing only on what I’d like to achieve in 2015. Taking a moment to compose this post is bringing me back to more positive reflection.

For 2014 I am proud to have welcomed a new rescue cat into my home, The Amazing Mongo! He has a very loving and entertaining personality. I am also glad to have deepened some new friendships and renewed some older ones. I brought my artwork to three craft shows and heard great responses from new fans. I conceived of, produced, packaged, and began selling a set of temporary tattoos in my Etsy shop: “Foodietoos.” My parents and I went on trip to visit beautiful Tuscany and Rome (the latter has a very different beauty compared to the Italian countryside) in the spring, and then visited my brother in Colorado for a week in the summer. (Greg and I spotted a bull moose in the forest one morning!) Friends and cousins came to visit me throughout the year and we enjoyed what the city has to offer. I have been keeping sharp at my freelance day job in magazine production and helped the publication complete some important articles. I’m so thankful to be part of the process each month. I made sure my friends kept laughing. I discovered a new genre that I’d like to explore with my drawings … which leads me to 2015.

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Mom, Dad, and I at lunch in Sienna, Italy in April.

Goals and resolutions are definitely important but I never can actually accomplish everything I set intentions for at the beginning of each year, unless they are very low goals! (Eat fruit. Don’t wait 4 weeks to do laundry.) I have learned to not let myself become discouraged if the way things turn out isn’t quite the way I expected or would have liked them to be. It is too easy for me to get into a negative mind space and start thinking about what I “didn’t work hard enough” at, or “didn’t do enough” of, which tends to dissuade me from moving forward.

Looking back at what I did in 2014 reminds me that I am living a full life and I have to allow myself to be fluid within it … if I only stuck to my goals I might have missed out on some surprises and detours that enriched my year.

In light of that, I’m not going to post any of my specific goals here (Are you surprised? I am, too.) but I will share my general mantra for the New Year: Keep exploring, stay positive, reach out and up. (I stole that last one from yoga class!)

What about you, do you prefer very specific goals or more general ones? Why?

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A quick post to remind you that if you are in the New York City area this Sunday, September 21, I hope you’ll be able to stop by the Ridgewood Market in Queens.

I will be there selling items from The Nancydraws Shop: Foodietoos, greeting cards, prints and original art from my “Love, New York” series. Look for my purple and green table display!

The Ridgewood Market is open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Location details:
Gottscheer Hall, 657 Fairview Ave. Ridgewood, NY 11385 (between Linden St. and Gates Ave.)
Near the L, J, and M trains
http://www.ridgewoodmarket.com/

Follow Ridgewood Market on social media:
Instagram @RidgewoodMarket
Twitter @ridgewoodmarket
Ridgewood Market Facebook Page

 

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In recent months I have been thinking about different ways of getting my art into other people’s hands as a fun way to get some attention for my artwork. Being a self-marketing machine gets pretty dull and repetitive, and for the amount of time I put in, it is often without much reward or acknowledgement from the public. What I do never seems like enough and I always expect, or would like more reaction than I get. So I made a fun challenge for myself and my friends Thelma and Louise (as luck would have it, they were interested). I wanted to give prints of my “Love, New York” artwork away as a fun surprise for the recipients.  I figured what I had been doing wasn’t getting a lot of attention, so why not try something else, and I held the same expectations for this experiment.

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“Thelma,” our intern “Cherise,” and “Louise” after our reverse art heist.

 I have a handful of images for my “Love, New York” illustration theme and one focuses on a woman wearing a leopard-print coat, sunglasses, green turban, and she carries a large orange tote bag. For “Turban Lady,” my idea was to secretly place a small number of  prints somewhere inside of a department store without the employees noticing. I came up with a plan to visit a few of them in Manhattan with my gorgeous volunteers. Each of us were to shop in the store as if we were looking for clothing or an outfit. While in the dressing room, we’d conceal a print in the items of clothing. Each postcard-sized print was inside of a clear, plastic sleeve with a pipe cleaner attached to it for easily attaching to a tag or hanger; they were also sized small enough to be able to fit into a (preferably leopard-print) coat pocket.

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At Store #1 there were a huge number of employees out on the floor which got me nervous right away. I couldn’t walk 3 feet without someone new asking me if I wanted a dressing room or help finding something. It seemed as if they somehow knew I wasn’t really shopping! I got over it and attached my cards to the items, after trying them on, of course. We were sending each other image texts from the dressing rooms! Here’s a cute pair of shorts on me. (Pardon my black socks, I know they are a “Don’t” with shorts.)

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Placing the cards amongst the fashions in Store #2 was much easier, and Thelma joined us at that point, so that meant more free art for their customers. She was even bold enough to place one of the postcards inside of an orange handbag right out on the store floor.

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We had one or two more cards left so we made a third stop and left the remaining cards there.

I included my contact information on the reverse side of the card and asked if the people who found it might get in touch with me and let me know something about them. Unfortunately no one has responded, but we went into it knowing that we might not hear back. It’s entirely possible that with the large number of security cameras around, that people in the store noticed what we were doing and didn’t approach us, but tossed the cards.

Basically what I got out of the experience was being able to act on one of my ideas, a fun afternoon (we went out for wine and a snack afterwards with Cherise), and a touch of mystery. Who knows, I may still hear from someone, so stay tuned for that and my next art giveaway idea!

 

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Earlier this month, Etsy.com HQ sent out a call for members and friends to contribute handmade or vintage Valentine greeting cards to be distributed to Citymeals-on-Wheels clients on Valentine’s Day. What fun it would be, I thought, to invite friends to join me on Saturday night for dinner and crafting… and it was!

Elaine, Elle, Kat, Holly, and Janet came over to my place last weekend. I served Penne Alla Vodka and my favorite salad. After dinner and some wine, we spread out ourselves and our craft supplies on the living room floor to start creating. There was some trepidation at first, but once we began putting things together, inspiration took hold. Listening to our favorite tunes from the 80s helped, too! In the end, we had 18 Valentine’s cards to contribute to Etsy’s cause! I would have been happy if we had 1 or 2 cards per person, so I’m bowled over by everyone’s efforts. Links and results follow:

http://www.citymeals.org/
http://www.etsy.com

Craft Central!

Janet working on one of her cards.

Holly’s delicious chocolate-cherry cupcakes for dessert!

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“Holiday Shoppers,” available at The Nancydraws Shop:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/61807091/christmas-card-city-shoppers

Well, its the last week before Christmas, and not even a week before Hanukkah begins. I’m sure there are still cards to write, cookies to bake, parties to attend, and gifts buy and wrap, so thanks for taking a look at my blog post today. I want to share some pictures to show what inspired a greeting card that I created last year, which is pictured above, “Holiday Shoppers.”

If you spend much time in Manhattan at this time of year, you’ll see people wandering around the city with all kinds of colorful and festive shopping bags. Since this week is the height of the holiday shopping season, I’ve taken a bunch of photos of these bags, which you’ll see when you scroll down.

This illustration also reminds me of a story a friend of mine told me from when she was in high school. She went to midtown after school in December with a friend to see the store window decorations along Fifth Avenue. Both of them were raised in a blue-collar Queens neighborhood and had their backpacks with them as they walked around and enjoyed the sites. They both felt a little out of place, walking past others in fur coats, carrying their purchases from the ritzy stores along the avenue in festive shopping bags.

The friend suggested going into Saks Fifth Avenue and requested 2 shopping bags from one of the sales clerks. The two then placed their backpacks in the bags and felt better about “blending in” with the rest of the well-to-do shopping crowd. So, you never know what’s in those bags you see people carrying down the street!

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For me, the freelance-office-gig to working-creatively-at-home transition is always a little tough. I certainly look forward to my less structured days but laundry, gym time, and internal battery-recharging is always in the mix. I’m blogging today as a way to bridge the gap this time.

I am looking forward to my trip to Europe which is coming up in April. It has been quite some time since I’ve been out of the country now and it would be putting it lightly to say that I am looking forward to it! I’ll be visiting friends in Barcelona and then meeting up with a gang of single ladies for sight-seeing and celebration in Paris. As luck would have it, my parents will also be in Paris one of the days that I’m there, so I’ll get to see them, too.

With this trip, I am finding that more than any other I have been on, the anticipation and planning are almost as good as actually being on the trip! This is mainly because of the large number of blogs and apps that have come into existence since the last time I traveled. I have downloaded tourist guide apps from TimeOut for both Barcelona and Paris, so I can browse activities and facts on my phone wherever I happen to be.

I have also been browsing through blogs and travel websites for each city… here are a few of my favorites:

Paris:
http://dailyphotoparis.blogspot.com/ (Each day, a beautiful shot of the City of Light)
http://badaude.typepad.com/my_weblog/ (A U.K. ex-pat illustrator’s take on Paris life and art)
http://bbonthebrink.blogspot.com/ (More excellent photography)
http://parisbymouth.com (Daily restaurant and food-related blog)
http://www.girlsguidetoparis.com/ (A great all-around travel blog)

Barcelona:
http://www.barcelonaphotoblog.com/ (Daily photos from around the city)
http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/travel/26hour.html (36-Hours in Barcelona)

Yes, the list for Paris is longer, but keep in mind, there are 5 other women involved in that trip and we’ve been sending one another Paris web links for the past few weeks. I also did a search on Google Earth for the address of our hotel in Montmatre… really fun!

So I hope this trip brings plenty of new energy and inspiration; traveling internationally always does the trick for me.

Au revior and hasta le vista!

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